MILE HIGH MONDAY

Broncos don’t pursue Fields, seem set on a certain college QB

Mar 18, 2024, 6:57 AM

The NFL seems to be constantly in the headlines. Just when the first wave of free agency concludes, a big trade shakes things up. Oh yeah, teams are still preparing for the 2024 NFL Draft, as well.

I like heading to pro days across the country. This week, I will be making a couple of stops in pursuit of more knowledge about these prospects.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep Wrangler TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

***

He Went to Jarrett

The Broncos have not yet added another veteran quarterback this offseason. I thought we’d see a guy like Sam Darnold or Sam Howell here to serve as a bridge quarterback for a rookie selected in the draft. I still believe the Broncos will take a quarterback in the first round, and I still think they might move up to get him.

Now, it looks like the bridge to a rookie could be Jarrett Stidham. Signed to a two-year contract last offseason, we did get to see Stidham start for the Broncos at the end of the 2023 season. It was not great. So, because Stidham struggled so much as the starter, I thought Denver would bring in another veteran. It appears that Stidham may be the bridge, but for how long?

I don’t think Stidham is a great option, so hopefully whatever rookie quarterback is selected starts ASAP. Rushing a rookie is a disaster that can set a player (and a franchise) back, but I don’t see the benefit of starting Stidham if the rookie is not completely overwhelmed. Experience is the best teacher, and I hope the Broncos rookie passer (and potential franchise quarterback) gets plenty of experience this year. Take the lumps now, so the team and the passer are ready to really compete in 2025.

The plan of Stidham and a rookie isn’t my favorite. However, if the rookie is ready sooner rather than later it’s a plan I could get excited about.

***

Gushing About McCarthy

Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy might be the favorite to land in Denver as a first-round pick in the draft. While not as physically gifted as other passers in this draft, McCarthy could be the best fit for Broncos HC Sean Payton. Known as a winner, and coming off a National Championship with the Wolverines, McCarthy has a ton of momentum in the pre-draft process.

Daniel Jeremiah, lead NFL Draft expert from NFL Network, has previously stated that McCarthy is an “acquired taste” when it comes to quarterback prospects. His game is not for everyone, but it might be for Payton. McCarthy doesn’t have a rocket arm, kind of like how scouts knocked Drew Brees when he came out of Purdue over two decades ago. However, McCarthy can make full field reads, has a level head, and he has shown quality pass placement.

It’s just that in college we didn’t see McCarthy showcase his skill because they had two great running backs and a great defense. I can tell someone hasn’t watched enough McCarthy when their opinion is largely negative. Sure, he’s not proven (one of the reasons I have a high second-round grade on him) but the natural talent is there. Add in his penchant for winning and ability to take tough coaching, and it’s easy to see why the positive buzz about McCarthy is growing.

It’s the time of year when many prospects get shredded in the media, sometimes from “anonymous scouts” because of what they can’t do. It seems like the more people watch McCarthy; the more people are warming up to him.

***

No Interest in a Bargain?

On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to trade the Chicago Bears for QB Justin Fields. They make the move for the 2021 first-round pick after trading their 2022 first-round pick, QB Kenny Pickett, to the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday. It’s simply incredible the Steelers were able to send the Bears a sixth-round pick (that could become a fourth-round pick) for a talent like Fields.

Yes, Fields has still not played up to his potential as a passer in this league. Yes, he hasn’t won a lot of games, throws too many passes off-target, and has too many interceptions. However, he’s as good as Michael Vick was as a rusher, and I believe Fields has not been properly developed when it comes to throwing the ball.

Enter Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. While the Bears lacked patience with Fields, Tomlin is entrenched as a coach and will take the time necessary to help this young talent. The Bears are going to select USC QB Caleb Williams with the no.1 overall pick in the draft, but they might rue the day they let Fields go for a song.

I can admit that Fields is not a fit for Payton, but I would’ve liked the Broncos to take a chance on that raw talent. The price to acquire him was so low, I’m a bit dismayed Denver didn’t throw a dart. Don’t be surprised if Fields unseats Wilson at some point this year, and he could finally develop into the franchise quarterback some thought he could be now that Tomlin is guiding him.

***

Plans Coming Together

Being creative makes me happy. Ever since I was in high school, I wanted to be a comic book artist. I almost was for Legend Comics back in 1993 – but when they went out of business right before my debut the dream was put on the shelf. Instead of having the courage to keep on fighting for my dream, I gave up…for the time being.

In 2023, all eight of my intellectual properties were made into 8-page “ashcan” comics. I launched my independent comic book company, Smokin Gun Comics, with support from fans and the comic book community on Kickstarter. With crowdfunding, the ability for anyone to pursue their dreams is easier than ever. That’s not to see it’s easy, but the path to success is easier to see.

I spend a lot of time studying football, but to decompress I write comic books. I don’t get a chance to draw much anymore, but when I do I take note of a special time. I learned how to draw from my mother, and getting pencil to paper is like spending time with her memory – something I cherish. Not only can I be creative as a writer, but I have creative people around me. Getting a small business to work takes a lot of work, a lot of patience, and good people on board. I’m proud to call guys like Ken Sullivan, Dan Kemp, or Ty Henderson friends. These are talented people who are helping to make my dreams come true in 2024 and beyond!

What are some of your favorite ways to be creative? Hit me up on social networking and let me know!

Mile High Monday

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