Denver Broncos inching closer to top five pick in 2018 NFL Draft

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Paxton Lynch
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Paxton Lynch /

The Denver Broncos’ 2017 season has been a total loss, but that could mean good news for their standing in the 2018 NFL Draft…

The Denver Broncos aren’t going to be competing for the Super Bowl this year, but they are ‘competing’ for a top five draft pick in 2018.

The 2018 NFL Draft appears to have at least two or three potential franchise quarterbacks, so picking in the top five would be absolutely huge for the Broncos if they decided to move on from everyone in their quarterback room this year.

After watching this team lose to the Oakland Raiders in unimpressive fashion, having a top five draft pick at the top of each round in 2018 wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. This will be a critical draft for John Elway in terms of getting this team back where it’s supposed to be — winning.

Here’s where the Broncos currently stand in the order, and then we’ll talk about some scenarios the rest of the way:

Right now, the Broncos are among the six NFL  teams with eight or more losses, and the nine teams with seven or more losses. The Houston Texans could soon join that group.

There will be strong contention for the top five picks of the draft as the season continues on, but with just five games to play, things are really just starting to come into focus.

Let’s start by looking at the Broncos’ remaining five games.

Week 13: @ Dolphins
Week 14: vs. Jets
Week 15: @ Colts (Thursday Night Football)
Week 16: @ Redskins
Week 17: vs. Chiefs

The crazy thing about those games remaining for the Broncos, I see only one — in Washington — that I would honestly think the Broncos are just going to flat out lose. The Dolphins are almost just as bad of a train wreck as the Broncos are right now, having lost five games in a row. The Jets are a team that overachieved early in the season, but is Josh McCown going to come into Denver and get a win? I suppose he could.

The Colts are not good at all, so even on a short week playing on the road, the Broncos could very well win that game. The Chiefs at home will be a tough game for the Broncos to win, because the Chiefs will likely be playing for their lives at that point and at this point, they’re just the better team.

I could see the Broncos winning at least two more games the rest of the season with how easy the remainder of the schedule is.

As for the other teams in front, the Broncos — and any team in general — need not worry. The Browns will have the top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. That appears to be all but solidified at this point, as I don’t see them winning another game.

The 49ers — who could be an interesting trade partner for the Broncos — have the Bears, Texans, and Rams all on the road to finish the season, with home games against the Titans and Jaguars sprinkled in. Of those games, they could win the Bears and Texans games. Right now they are at one win on the season, but I don’t see them finishing with more than three. But who knows what could happen down the stretch with Jimmy Garoppolo?

The Giants travel to Oakland this weekend, where they will probably show better than Denver, but I don’t know if they will win that game. They then host the Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins the rest of the season with a road game against Arizona in week 16. I think I could see the Giants competing in their games against Oakland, Dallas, and Arizona.

The Colts play the Jaguars this week, on the road, and they will probably lose that game. They then have to travel to Buffalo before coming home for their home game against Denver on Thursday night. They go on the road to Baltimore after that, and finish at home against the Texans. I could see Indianapolis winning one, maybe two more games.

The Bears host the 49ers this week, in what should prove to be a real barn burner. Then they go on the road to Cincinnati for another prime time matchup. They travel to Detroit after that, then host the Browns, and finish their season on the road in Minnesota. They will almost assuredly lose the games against Detroit and Minnesota, but the other three games are winnable for the Bears, especially the Niners and Browns games.

Those are all of the teams with eight or more losses at this point. Of the teams we just discussed, the biggest threats to continue losing appear to be the Browns, 49ers, Giants, and Colts.

If that’s the case, the Broncos could be looking at no higher than the 5th overall selection, depending on how their head-to-head matchups with some of these teams turn out.

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Some of these teams present intriguing trade options for the Broncos, however, and you can look at the teams that already have quarterbacks in specific. Those teams would include the 49ers, Bears, and Colts. I remain very unsure what the Giants would do in the top five of the draft, whether they would take a quarterback, lineman, or defender. They are a threat to take a quarterback though.

The key for Denver now is to finish somewhere within the top 10, and prepare to make a trade proposal within the top 10 for the player they covet, should the need arise.

No matter where Denver’s final draft slot is, we’ve seen teams like Philadelphia or Los Angeles (Rams) make moves up high in the draft order to solidify their quarterback position.

Even if the Broncos win the rest of their games, they won’t be picking high enough that teams wouldn’t trade down in the first round with them, because if the Broncos had to make a desperation move for a quarterback, some team would be more than willing to gamble on getting Denver’s first round pick in 2019 back in a trade.

There are a lot of scenarios as the season progresses, but it appears the Broncos are destined for the top 10 of the draft, if not the top five at this point. Where would you favor them in a game left on the schedule? The have just been that bad to this point.

The key will be cashing in on the opportunity to draft so high for the first time in eight years.