With less than a month remaining until the NFL Draft, one of the more prominent analysts on NFL Network has unveiled his first mock draft.
Peter Schrager, one of the hosts of "Good Morning Football," projects that the Broncos will take North Dakota State's Trey Lance, one of the top quarterback prospects, and they won't have to make a trade up to do it.
"The QB carousel goes round and round, and it appears Denver still doesn't have a new one," Schrager wrote. "Lance could go as high as No. 3 or remain available until the middle of Round 1. I think Denver makes a whole lot of sense if he's available here."
The Panthers' trade for Sam Darnold appears to have changed the calculus involved in the projections for the draft's top 10 picks. Suddenly, the assumption that Denver may have to trade up to secure a top quarterback may no longer hold.
The deal certainly changed things for ESPN's Todd McShay, whose most recent mock draft originally sent cornerback Patrick Surtain II to Denver, even with Justin Fields still available. However, when Carolina acquired Darnold, McShay revised his mock draft to reflect the change in team needs. Now, the mock draft has the Broncos drafting Lance, as well.
"Lance has a big arm, reads the field well and is productive as a runner," McShay wrote. "The 17-game résumé at the FCS level means he might require time to learn and develop before he is given the reins, though. Alternatively, Denver could take the opportunity to trade back with another QB-needy franchise and pick up more draft capital."
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Should the draft fall like how McShay expects, the Broncos may be able to pick from a number of top prospects that includes the No. 2 and No. 4 quarterback, at least as NFL.com's Bucky Brooks ranks them. For him, Fields is No. 2 and Lance is No. 4. "Fields is a five-star talent with outstanding athleticism and playmaking ability," Brooks wrote. "… Lance is an unfinished product with the tools to explode as a playmaker at the next level. He has experience running a multi-faceted offense with traditional pro-style concepts and new-school tactics blended into the game plan. As an A-plus athlete with strong managerial skills, he could emerge as the best prospect in the class, provided he ends up in the right system."