Rival HC Acknowledges Competition With Broncos for QB as 3rd Team Lurks - Sport News

Rival HC Acknowledges Competition With Broncos for QB as 3rd Team Lurks

The Denver Broncos are a team to watch in the race to land a QB in the 2024 draft.

Asked is he was aware of that race, Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell openly acknowledged it during the NFC coaches breakfast during the owners meeting in Orlando.

“Absolutely,” O’Connell told reporters on March 26. “Part of the draft is understanding – I’ve used this term before but – other teams sometimes have to be complicit in your plans. And you’re talking about the Denver Broncos with Sean Payton as the head coach, George Paton. I know the type of staff they have there. There’s some great evaluators of talent.

Sean Payton Denver Broncos

“We know if we feel strongly about the type of players that we’re looking at and we’re evaluating, they probably are feeling similar. And so we got to understand that that is part of it. We’re going to have to compete in ways to add players, at all positions, to our team.”

The prospect some presume the Broncos are vying for is Michigan’s QB, J.J. McCarthy.

“Sean Payton’s the one I’d keep an eye on,” Dan Patrick said on the “Dan Patrick Show” on March 26, noting the Vikings as a threat. “I’ve felt all along Sean Payton wants J.J. McCarthy.”

Payton did not attend McCarthy’s pro day. But he revealed at the AFC coaches breakfast that he put the former Wolverine through the paces in a private workout following the event. Payton also called the possibility of the Broncos trading up for a quarterback “realistic”.

Vikings Quarterbacks Coach Josh McCown worked with McCarthy at the pro day.

But Paton has also shown consistent interest in McCarthy, discussing plans to meet at the scouting combine and attending Michigan’s pro day.

Commanders, Vikings Lurk as Threats to Draft QB Ahead of Broncos

Sean Payton, Kevin O'Connell, Denver Broncos
Sean Payton, Kevin O’Connell, Denver Broncos

GettyHead coaches Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos and Kevin O’Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

A couple of wrinkles in this storyline could lead to a drastically different outcome. First, McCown coached long-time presumed No. 2 quarterback prospect Drake Maye in high school. That could give Minnesota, owners of the No. 11 overall pick, a leg up in their evaluation process.

The Vikings are also keen on LSU’s Jayden Daniels, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano on February 10

Daniels’ pro day on March 27 and Maye’s on March 28 could be telling. Though, as Payton’s revelation may have shown, it’s not always the best indicator of a team’s level of interest.

The second and more significant wrinkle in the race for a QB is the increasing speculation around the Washington Commanders‘ plans in the draft. They sit at No. 2 and appear poised to shake up the entire draft early on.

“When I’ve had conversations [at the owners meeting] with executives from other teams that know [Commanders General Manager] Adam Peters well, that know the situation well, the most popular answer for what they do at No. 2 is J.J. McCarthy,” NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said on “The Insiders” on March 25.

Broncos ‘Going to Have to Go Get’ J.J. McCarthy

J.J. McCarthy, Denver Broncos
J.J. McCarthy, Denver Broncos

GettyJ.J. McCarthy #9 of the Michigan Wolverines.

There are conflicting reports about the Commanders’ plans, both in who they would take and if they would draft in that slot or trade back.

That is a natural occurrence this time of year as team officials put on their poker faces. Peters did say his side had not cemented their plans for the No. 2 overall pick. However, he pointed to still being early in the process rather than actively looking to trade out of the slot.

Regardless, the only way the Broncos can guarantee they land him is by being aggressive.

“One of my sources who went to the combine said there are teams that are really in love with him. That he has everything, that he interviewed well. ‘He’s smart, he’s a winner, he’s got athleticism.’ Just kept going on and on and on,” Patrick said. “He’s not going to fall to [Denver] at 13, you’re going to have to go get him. What are you going to pay to go get him?”

The Broncos, of course, have the No. 12 overall pick, a fact that only slightly improves their chances at landing McCarthy without a trade up.

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