Proposed Broncos Trade Lands Top-3 QB: Sean Payton ‘Needs His Guy’

Sean Payton, Denver Broncos

Getty Head coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos.

There is an air of desperation around the Denver Broncos.

Their current quarterback setup has left plenty of room for speculation, with Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci having five starts and a 1-4 combined record between them.

“I’m not sure there’s a more quarterback-desperate team than Denver. Head coach Sean Payton has staked his reputation on unceremoniously moving on from Russell Wilson, and he needs his guy to make that work,” Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson wrote on April 15. “I’m predicting that Denver will be the aggressive team in the trade market.”

Monson suggests a hypothetical trade package to land the No. 3 overall pick from the New England Patriots.

Broncos get:

– 2024 first-round pick (No. 3 overall)

Patriots get:

– 2024 first-round pick (No. 12)
– 2024 third-round pick (No. 76)
– 2025 first-round pick

Daniels completed 72.2% of his passes for 3,812 yards, 40 touchdowns, and four interceptions last season, capping off his run with the Heisman Trophy. He led LSU to back-to-back double-digit-win seasons.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote on April 17 that Daniels is “firmly on the radar” as a top-three pick.

However, his comparison to a former MVP paints a telling picture of what Daniels is as a prospect and how he might fit in Payton’s offense if the Broncos trade up to land him.

Jayden Daniels’ Comparison to Lamar Jackson Clouds Broncos Fit

Jayden Daniels, Denver Broncos

GettyJayden Daniels #5 of the LSU Tigers.

“Elite traits,” an anonymous NFC executive said, per Fowler. “He’s always been an athlete but showed more clubs in the bag. Throws the ball really well and his decision-making is good. Accurate. Grown a lot as far as operating a passing game with rhythm and timing. Can make progressions. An impressive prospect.”

His slight frame has been offered as a cause for pause.

The 6-foot-3 former Arizona Sun Devil weighed in at 210 pounds at his pro day and has dealt with injuries.

“He played 190 to 200 [pounds] his whole career and he takes shots,” another anonymous NFC exec said, per Fowler. “Better thrower than Lamar [Jackson] was coming out and it’s not close. He can do the read-option and the mobility stuff. The question is, when those easy 20-yard runs aren’t there in the NFL, is he willing to take the easy 8-yard gain from the pocket and avoid taking hits? He’s got to protect himself better. I think he will.”

That exec noted Daniels’ improved play from the pocket this past season.

An anonymous AFC scout told Fowler he “loves the total package” Daniels brings. But he worries about the QB’s ability to operate in a dirty pocket.

Jackson is a two-time MVP and one of the most dynamic quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. But the Baltimore Ravens offense with  Jackson under center differs greatly from what Payton prefers to run, even this past season with their increased emphasis on the passing game.

Patriots’ Needs Further Complicate Matters for Broncos in Potential Trade

Jerod Mayo, Denver Broncos

GettyHead Coach Jerod Mayo of the New England Patriots.

The Athletic’s Dianna Rusinni expressed a belief on “The Herd” on March 29 that the Patriots were not a “lock” to select a quarterback in the 2024 draft. That could make them prime candidates for a trade down.

There would be plenty of suitors if they openly made the pick available in a trade.

The Broncos cannot afford a bidding war, especially since it would be clear any team looking to trade into that spot would be looking to trade for a quarterback.

The Patriots’ plans also remain unclear. Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo said that the Patriots are keeping their options open with the No. 3 overall pick during the annual league meeting in March. But he also said drafting a quarterback was a “priority.”

Their best opportunity to do that is with the No. 3 pick, which could be bad for the Broncos.

But their de facto general manager, Eliot Wolf, said he is open to trading out of the spot on April 18, leaving any number of outcomes on the table.