Rival’s Stance Poses New Threat to Broncos Amid QB Trade Rumors

George Paton, Denver Broncos

Getty General Manager George Paton of the Denver Broncos.

The Denver Broncos have eyes on the top quarterback prospects in the class. But they will have to trade up to get one. The chances of standing pat in hopes a quarterback falls to them took a hit too.

The New York Jets could put another team in a position to cut them off.

“While the Jets need a young quarterback in their pipeline, assuming Zach Wilson is a goner, the idea of them drafting one that high seems unlikely,” ESPN’s Rich Cimini wrote on April 1.

“What they’d really like is a trade proposal from a quarterback-needy team, which would allow them to acquire a top-100 pick. A handful of teams behind them, most notably the Minnesota Vikings (11th), Denver Broncos (12th) and Las Vegas Raiders (13th), might be motivated to move up.”

Denver and Minnesota had been two teams others were monitoring ahead of the draft.

Both organizations moved on from Pro Bowl quarterbacks this offseason, though only one was completely by choice. And they have been linked to the same prized target at the top of the draft: Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

Broncos Set to Meet With NCAA’s Leading Passer Amid Trade Rumors

Michael Penix Jr., Denver Broncos

GettyMichael Penix #QB08 of the Washington Huskies.

It might behoove the Broncos to trade additional capital to the Jets. They could have to jump in front of the Vikings for one of the top quarterback prospects. That would not stop the Vikings from making an even bigger move to get even higher, though.

Denver is wisely doing its due diligence on the other quarterback prospects in the class. The uncertainty around their current slot only adds to the complexity of their decision.

“Things are heating up for Washington QB Michael Penix Jr: Sources say he had dinner with the #Giants in Seattle after his Pro Day, followed by a private workout with the #Vikings in Seattle,” Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz reported on X on April 1. “Penix will have top 30s with the #Broncos, #Falcons, #Raiders and #Commanders, per multiple sources.”

Penix led all college passers with 4,903 yards on 65.4% completion with 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season. He also completed 65.3% of his passes for 4,641 yards, 31 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 2022.

He finished second placed in the Heisman voting behind LSU’s Jayden Daniels.

That is the highest finish in the voting for the award in university history, just one of many times Penix put his name at the top of the Washington Huskies record books.

Broncos in Tough Spot Between Vikings and Raiders

Antonio Pierce, Kevin O'Connell, Denver Broncos

GettyHead Coaches Antonio Pierce of the Las Vegas Raiders and Kevin O’Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings are a clear threat to the Broncos’ potential draft plans. They sit one spot ahead of the Broncos, armed with two first-round picks to make their move. But the AFC West rival Raiders’ presence cannot be ignored.

“I don’t think [the Broncos] would be disappointed if Penix was there,’’ former NFL QB Jim Miller said, per 9News’ Mike Klis on April 1. “If they can get up to get Drake Maye, I think that would be a great thing for them but I don’t know if they have the firepower to do it. You can always find a way. If they could pull that off it would be incredible but I just don’t see New England wanting to trade out of that No. 3 spot.

“I think the Raiders right behind you, you have to be worried about. They’re (draft pick number) 13. I think they want Penix.’’

Miller touted Penix ahead of McCarthy.

He added that the former’s lengthy injury history will likely keep that from happening. Miller noted Penix’s quick release, ability to avoid sacks, and processing as strengths. That was on top of his arm and mobility.

The Broncos have to decide if Penix is worth taking with the No. 12 pick or making a trade to get another passer.

It could be the difference in avoiding the Raiders taking him or the Vikings doubling back.