July 15, 2024

In a recent mock draft, it’s speculated that the Denver Broncos might be eyeing a replacement for Russell Wilson, as head coach Sean Payton hinted at a decision regarding Wilson’s future with the team within the next couple of weeks, likely indicating a release. ESPN’s NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. suggests the Broncos could opt for Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy with the 12th overall pick. Though McCarthy isn’t considered a guaranteed franchise cornerstone, Kiper sees potential in him. While acknowledging that drafting McCarthy might be a bit of a stretch based on his rankings, Kiper highlights McCarthy’s promising traits, including his anticipated impressive performance in combine workouts and interviews. Despite not being heavily relied upon to carry his college team with his arm, McCarthy’s skills show promise, and Payton’s coaching prowess in Denver could help him flourish.

J.J. McCarthy landing spots: Ranking best fits for Michigan's QB ahead of  2024 NFL Draft - CBSSports.com

Opinions within the NFL scouting community on McCarthy vary, with some comparing him to Joe Burrow and others giving him a lower grade. McCarthy’s leadership led Michigan to their first national championship in 26 years, although his individual statistics weren’t exceptionally dominant. The Broncos are considering McCarthy but are also exploring other quarterback options. They recently interviewed McCarthy and plan to meet with Michael Penix Jr. from Washington and Bo Nix from Oregon. Finding a solid quarterback is crucial for Denver, especially in the competitive AFC West division, where they face Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs twice a year. Since Peyton Manning’s retirement in 2016, the Broncos have struggled with stability at the quarterback position, cycling through 13 different starters.

Coach Payton emphasized the importance of finding the right quarterback, referencing a humorous meme featuring a Broncos fan with crossed-out names of previous quarterbacks on their shirt. The team’s goal is to ensure that the next quarterback doesn’t end up crossed out like the others.

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