Kiper envisions Lock, Jones as potential QB targets for Denver if Broncos trade down

Though ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has yet to project a quarterback to the Broncos in his first two mock drafts, he still thinks a quarterback could be an option for Denver in the first two rounds — even after the Broncos reportedly agreed to trade for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

However, going after a quarterback may give the Broncos the leeway to trade down, Kiper said in a Tuesday conference call, and that would give them a few options at quarterback, including former Missouri quarterback Drew Lock.

“Joe Flacco’s going to be in his mid-30s, he’s had the injury, so you could go out and get a Drew Lock, but I would say trade down from 10, maybe,” Kiper said. “I have him going 15 to Washington. Some think he’s a second-round pick, not a first-round pick. There’s no built-in consensus on Drew Lock, as I said earlier. But that arm talent — the size, the arm talent and the fact that he’s experienced. He’s coming out with a ton of experience. A four-year starter.”

Lock, who totaled 3,498 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions on a 62.9-percent completion percentage in 2018, particularly impressed Kiper down the final stretch of the season.

“He had a really good finish to the year in the last seven games: 16 touchdown passes, only two picks,” Kiper said. “He had that huge game against Florida — 75-percent completion percentage on the road at Florida. He finally beat that elite team, which he hadn’t done — 0-9 against elite teams going into that game. … He threw three touchdown passes with no picks in that game. He’s got the big-league arm, big-time talent.”

That talent, Kiper said, would be a great match for President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway.

“You talk about Denver with John Elway,” Kiper said. “John Elway’s going to love seeing that rocket arm.”

Beyond Lock, Kiper also identified three other quarterbacks as a potential targets late in the first round or early in the second, including former Duke QB Daniel Jones.

“He doesn’t have the arm Lock does, but he had a really good year for [Duke head coach] David Cutcliffe, finished off that bowl game — an impressive bowl game against Temple,” Kiper said. “An average week at Mobile, but MVP of the [Senior Bowl].

“… I think Will Grier, West Virginia, late first, early second. Ryan Finley, NC State, second round. Jared Stidham, Auburn, could be in that third-round mix. But I think in terms of the first round, it will be Lock or Jones, if you’re talking mid- to late-first.”

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