BRONCOS

One way-too-early mock draft has the Broncos going QB next year

May 3, 2023, 12:44 AM | Updated: 12:49 am

Mock drafts are useless — none moreso than mocks made nearly one year in advance.

But they do offer a glimpse at what needs could exist over the horizon. And one mock released this week has the Broncos going for a quarterback at this time next year.

But the quarterback would be taken at pick No. 17, according to CBSSports.com. Which means it isn’t the highly-touted Caleb Williams of USC or Drake Maye from North Carolina … but Oregon’s Bo Nix.

Nix’s Ducks topped Maye’s Tar Heels last December in the Holiday Bowl, 28-27. The two quarterbacks had similar performances — Nix had a higher completion percentage, but had tossed an interception, while Maye had three touchdowns and no picks. Of course, Nix’s work came against a UNC defense that was a sieve last year, allowing 31.3 points per game against FBS opposition.

In CBS’s early mock, Nix is the fourth quarterback off the board, following Williams, Maye and Texas’ Quinn Ewers.

If the Broncos pick 18th or higher, it means they missed the postseason.

And for a mock that has the Broncos going for a QB, it’s fair to wonder … what kind of season transpired to make such a pick necessary?

With that in mind, here’s what a few other early mocks forecasted:

Pro Football Focus

16. CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

How does a third Hawkeyes cornerback in four drafts strike you? DeJean is active against the run and a lockdown playmaker in coverage allowing opposing QBs to post just a 49.7 rating when targeting him last year, per PFF’s data.

The Draft Network

19. DL Maason Smith, LSU

This projection has the Broncos making the postseason, given their spot. That would be reason to celebrate. But celebration is a foul word to Smith, who tore the ACL in his left knee after celebrating a play not even eight minutes into the regular-season opener against Florida State.

Fox Sports

15. LB Barrett Carter, Clemson

The 6-foot-1, 225-pounder is listed as a linebacker, but he’s actually one of those players whose position could be hard to define as a pro. Carter’s stat line reflected his versatility: 5.5 sacks, 8 passes defensed, 2 interceptions and 10.5 tackles for loss. Off-ball linebacker doesn’t represent the best position value in Round 1. But Carter, a freakish athlete, is so much more than that.

USA Today

18. WR Xavier Worthy, Texas

It’s hard to see this pick happening. Worthy is a speed threat who Texas currently lists at just 164 pounds. And with Jerry Jeudy receiving the fifth-year option Monday, the Broncos likely won’t have much room for another premium pick on a wide receiver unless they trim from the room with multiple trades between now and next April.

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One way-too-early mock draft has the Broncos going QB next year