McShay’s first mock has Broncos taking a first-round QB

Dec 16, 2021, 12:00 AM

“Who will be under center for the Denver Broncos next season?” remains an unanswered question.

Does Denver bring back Teddy Bridgewater? Can Broncos general manager George Paton swing a trade for the likes of Aaron Rodgers? Or Russell Wilson? Deshaun Watson?

At least one expert believes the answer may be in the first round of the NFL Draft come next spring.

ESPN senior writer and draft guru Todd McShay unveiled this week his first mock draft of this upcoming cycle, which features five first-round quarterbacks, including Liberty’s Malik Willis at No. 17 to the Broncos.

Previously, only four drafts have features five first-round quarterbacks (1983, 1999, 2018 and 2021), but each has seen at least two signal callers go in the top 10.

Willis, who played two seasons at Auburn before transferring to Liberty in 2019, would be the third quarterback off the board in McShay’s mock, behind Pitt’s Kenny Pickett and Ole Miss’s Matt Corral, who go No. 12 and No. 13 to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Football Team, respectively.

Rounding out the remaining five are Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder to the New Orleans Saints at No. 19 and North Carolina’s Sam Howell to the Detroit Lions at No. 25.

A two-year starter for Liberty after sitting out the 2019 season due to transfer rules, Willis threw for 4,876 yards with a 62.8 completion percentage, 44 touchdowns and just 18 interceptions.

Broncos Country might be wise, however, to pass judgement on this first mock, as McShay is aiming at a moving target. With four games left in the NFL season, Denver’s draft slot might rise or fall, perhaps even dramatically, over the next month.

And depending on the outcome of this NFL season, the Broncos priorities at the position may shift as well.


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