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Mile High Morning: Could the Broncos trade down in the 2021 NFL Draft?

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ESPN's NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper released his second mock draft of the year on Thursday, and it raised an interesting an question: Should the Broncos trade back?

In Kiper's exercise, he predicted the Broncos would trade back from the ninth-overall pick to the 15th pick in a swap with the Patriots. And in this deal, which New England makes to grab a franchise quarterback, the Broncos could get a haul.

Kiper suggested the Devin Bush trade — in which the Broncos traded down 10 spots and swapped with the Steelers in 2019 — could be a good framework. Denver, though, might get more in this scenario because of the Patriots' desire to get a quarterback. Kiper said Denver would get the 15th pick, a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 pick.

"I wouldn't be shocked if it took the Pats' 2022 first-rounder to get the deal over the finish line," Kiper wrote.

If Denver could add another first-round pick in 2022, that would help GM George Paton and the Broncos keep their options open to potentially make a big move a year from now. Paton has spoken about how draft picks are the "lifeblood" of the football team, and it would be no surprise to see him try to garner more.

More good news? The Broncos would still get a really good player under these circumstances. Kiper has Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley falling to 15, and Farley is a player that Kiper said he would "feel comfortable taking" at No. 9. To get him at 15 — with the addition of a 2021 second rounder and potential 2022 first rounder — would be a potential steal.

"Cornerback is the position I'd target for Denver," Kiper wrote. "He showed in 2019 that he can be an elite, lockdown corner, though I would like to have seen one more year of film (he opted out of the 2020 season). He's still raw."

As mock draft season continues, there will be many options to explore for the Broncos. In a scenario like the one Kiper presented, trading back may be the most appealing.

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