Broncos Encouraged to Address Cornerback, Not QB, in New 1st-Round Mock Draft

George Paton

Getty What will the Broncos do in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft?

Following the release of Russell Wilson, quarterback is seemingly a position of need for the Denver Broncos.

Not so fast, according to ESPN’s Field Yates, who does not anticipate Denver drafting a QB early. Instead, Yates has the Broncos “finding some value” with one of the top defensive prospects.

In his March 14 mock draft predicting the top-15 picks of the 2024 NFL draft, Yates has Denver selecting University of Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold with the No. 12 pick.

“While Pat Surtain II mans one half of the field for Denver and the team used a third-round pick on Riley Moss last season, this would give the Broncos an imposing cornerback duo for what became a much more competent defense down the stretch in 2023. Arnold had five picks last season and displays physicality in his coverage. And without [Justin] Simmons over the top, corner just became really important for this team,” Yates wrote.

During his rookie campaign, Moss played in 14 games, starting none and recorded just six total tackles. The Broncos only have veterans Damarri Mathis and Fabian Moreau as viable playmakers opposite Surtain.

Arnold earned First-team All-American and First-team All-SEC honors with the Crimson Tide in 2023. His five interceptions were tied for the most by an SEC defender last season.

Broncos Doing ‘Serious Homework’ on All Available Quarterbacks: Report

Despite Yates believing the Broncos should steer clear of a quarterback early, that has not stopped the team from doing some research.

Dianna Russini of The Athletic reported the Broncos are doing “serious homework” on all available signal callers.

“With many of the best available free agent quarterbacks already in new homes, potential replacements for Russell Wilson include Jimmy Garoppolo or Ryan Tannehill,” Russini wrote in a March 14 article with colleague Jacob Robinson. “They could also go the trade route, making Justin Fields and Sam Howell interesting options.”

Garoppolo and Tannehill are free agents while Howell was traded to the Seattle Seahawks on March 14.

Head coach Sean Payton is running out of options to replace Wilson ahead of his second season in Denver.

Broncos Analyst Rips GM George Paton Following Russell Wilson’s Departure

The Broncos general manager has taken a backseat to Payton as the veteran coach attempts to return the organization to relevance. Paton continues to draw the ire of fans, even with Payton at the controls.

Following official word of Wilson’s departure, Denver Sports analyst Will Petersen took to social media to rip Paton.

“To recap… George Paton hired maybe the worst head coach in NFL history, made maybe the worst trade in NFL history, gave out maybe the worst contract in NFL history and just took on a $53M dead cap hit. And he’s still the GM of the Denver Broncos,” Petersen posted to X on March 13.

This was not the first time Petersen openly criticized the embattled Broncos GM. In a March 4 article for Denver Sports, Petersen felt it was a “borderline insult” for Paton to announce Wilson would be cut.

“The whole reason this will go down as one of the worst trades and contracts in NFL history is because of Paton, but he gets to fire Wilson while still having a job himself. Make that make sense,” Petersen wrote.

The miscalculated Wilson trade will arguably be a touchy subject throughout Broncos Country for the foreseeable future.

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