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Mile High Morning: Could a quarterback be on the horizon for the Broncos in free agency or the Draft?


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Though General Manager George Paton and Head Coach Vic Fangio each asserted their belief in Drew Lock, it seems like the quarterback room may soon have a new face or two in it.

During Paton and Fangio's press conference a week ago, the two expressed their continued confidence in Lock's potential and talent, but, as Fangio said, they'll work to raise the level of competition at the position.

"We're always looking to bring in players at all positions that can raise the level of competition, and the quarterback is no different in that regard," Fangio said. "Until we get — or until Drew proves to be the next great quarterback like the ones that the Denver franchise has been used to in years past or the ones certain teams around the league have, you guys know where they are ... we're going to always try and bring in competition. But I have confidence that Drew can continue to improve."

Whether that's in the Draft or free agency remains to be seen, but Paton said he wouldn't rule out a quarterback with the ninth-overall pick.

Several NFL Draft prognosticators forecast the Broncos selecting a cornerback or trading down so that another team can draft a quarterback there, but if you ask The Denver Post's Sean Keeler, quarterback should still be their prerogative at No. 9.

"If you pass on one, which miss is going to hurt more?" Keeler writes. "Because the stock on Jones — who threw 41 touchdowns with only four picks for Alabama last fall — keeps climbing. Especially after a solid Senior Bowl week that had former NFL GM Mike Tannenbaum raving that the 6-foot-3 Florida native would be the 2021 draft's version of Justin Herbert."

Or what about in free agency? In Ryan O’Halloran’s mailbag article for the Post, he considered the possibility of the team pursuing Alex Smith.

"It would be sensible for the Broncos to reach out to Smith to see, if the price was right for both sides, whether or not he would be open to beginning 2021 as the backup to Lock," O'Halloran writes. "There should be concern about whether Smith could withstand a full 16-game schedule and I would look at him more as a great No. 2/mentor to Lock/pinch-hit starter."

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Still, that kind of thinking isn't pushing many analysts away from predicting a cornerback to Denver in the first round. In a new mock draft with Dane Brugler for The Athletic, Nick Kosmider picks CB Patrick Surtain II for the Broncos. "If the Broncos decide against selecting a quarterback in the first round — and don't move back to collect more draft capital — then cornerback seems like the most likely route at No. 9," Kosmider writes. "Even if veteran Bryce Callahan is healthy all of 2021 — a big question mark considering his recent history — Denver needs to take cracks at multiple long-term solutions. Surtain would be ready to step in and start from Day 1."

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