Earlier this month, news broke that the Denver Broncos were going to conduct private workouts with top quarterback Draft prospects Baine Gabbert of Missouri and Washington quarterback Jake Locker. The initial reaction among most Bronco fans was that of confusion. The team already has veteran quarterback Kyle Orton, up and coming quarterback Tim Tebow and still-thinks-he-could-be-a-starter Brady Quinn on the roster. Add in the fact that Denver's defense is in shambles, and it makes no sense for the team to select an offensive player 2nd overall and especially a quarterback. Expanding on the smokescreen theory, others have noted that the Broncos could be trying to position themselves to trade down by rubbing elbows with the coveted top quarterbacks in the draft (like Auburn's Cam Newton who is scheduled to visit with the team). In 2007, Denver offered two first-round picks, a second-rounder and two third-rounders, plus veteran linebacker Al Wilson to the Detriot Lions for their 2nd overall pick. Detroit declined and drafted the player the Broncos were in love with, wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Using the above mentioned reasons as examples, many have brushed off the workouts and interviews as smokescreens. After all, last year then-Head Coach Josh McDaniels praised Oklahoma's Dez Bryant from his head to his toes before passing up on him in the draft and selecting fellow wide receiver Demaryius Thomas of Georgia Tech. Of course, that was McDaniels, not John Fox -- but it is still a legitimate example.
This year, the Broncos hold all the cards. If a team is in love with a quarterback that they think Denver may select second overall, they might be willing to make an offer similar to that of the one Denver made to Detroit four years ago. If the plan in Dove Valley is to trade down, they are executing it perfectly.
Today, it was reported that the team is also planning to visit with Nevada's Colin Kaepernick and Florida State's Christian Ponder, two other quarterbacks who are among the top 10 entering the draft this year and are expected to be available in the second round. With Denver showing so much interest in so many quarterback prospects (five by our count), the smokescreen theory is starting to look a little shaky.
There is only one reasonable conclusion, the Denver Broncos are planning to draft a quarterback this April. The team has already received at least one offer for quarterback Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn is not a realistic starting prospect, and quarterback Tim Tebow hasn't yet gotten a chance to win over the likes of Vice President John Elway and Head Coach John Fox.
With their first pick the team is expected to select a defensive player, "Our goal with that second pick is to find a player who is going to start for the next 10 years with us," said team General Manager Brian Xanders. After that though, who knows? Legendary former quarterback Elway knows quarterbacks, so it's no surprise he's exploring those who will be top picks in the draft this year.
Denver is going through a rebuilding process and currently they are figuring out who will and who won't be a part of the solution. Because they can't afford a bust, they'll pick a player that will be able to contribute immediately and help the team win games. "With that second pick, we have to look at everything," said Elway. "Because by no means do we plan on going back there. So we are literally looking at every position inside the draft." (Yes, that includes the quarterback position).
But make no mistake, the team has not given up on Tebow and he will get a chance to compete for the Broncos starting quarterback position this season (or whenever the next season is). The question is; with whom will he be competing?