Posted on January 12, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
As usual, the quarterback position will be one of great importance in this year’s draft. Even with pre-draft preparations barely underway, teams in need of a quarterback are starting to look closely at the players available. It seems that the Denver Broncos have already been intrigued by Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. According to a report published Friday, the Broncos coaching staff has requested that Mayfield be on their roster during the Senior Bowl later this month.
Vance Joseph and company will coach the North Team in the annual college football showcase that’s set for January 27. The Houston Texans coaching staff will coach the South Team. Full rosters for the game won’t be released until Wednesday. However, the Broncos requested that Mayfield be on the North Team, and that request has reportedly been granted.
With Mayfield on the North Team, Denver’s coaching staff will be able to get a first-hand look at Mayfield during practice leading up to the game. The special request makes it obvious that the Broncos want as much information about Mayfield as possible, indicating they have serious interest in drafting him. The Broncos own the 5th overall pick and have a clear need at quarterback.
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“I think there is no doubt we have to get better at that position,” Broncos GM John Elway said of the quarterback position following Denver’s 5-11 season. “For us to have a chance to get better, we have to get better at that position.”
The Broncos used three different starting quarterbacks in 2017. But none of them established himself as the team’s quarterback of the future. Trevor Siemian struggled with turnovers. Brock Osweiler had his moments but lacked consistency. Paxton Lynch didn’t see enough of the field for the Broncos to evaluate him fairly because of injury. Despite the Broncos taking Lynch in the 1st round in 2016, they already appear to be in the market for another young quarterback.
To many, Mayfield is one of the biggest wild cards in the draft, at least at the quarterback position. He put up monster numbers in college. However, he played in an offense that included a lot of short throws. There are also questions about how his height and mechanics will translate to the NFL, which is why few have seen him as a 1st round talent until late in his senior season.
That being said, Mayfield has the kind of moxy and attitude that Elway appears to covet in quarterbacks. While he has had issues away from the field that have become distractions, no one has ever questioned Mayfield’s effort and desire to win. Elway undoubtedly views those as positive attributes that he wants Denver’s quarterback to possess.
Of course, there’s nothing to indicate that Mayfield is at the top of Denver’s draft board. But the fact that the Broncos went out of their way to make sure their coaches got to have him on their Senior Bowl team means that he’s definitely piqued their interest. There’s been little consensus on how Mayfield will fare in the NFL and whether he warrants a top pick. However, it only takes one team to like him enough to make him a 1st round pick. It’s possible that the Broncos could be that team.