Why the Senior Bowl is the most important juncture for Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos GM John Elway. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos GM John Elway. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos are at a critical juncture right now for the future of the franchise, and the Senior Bowl may be their most important tool yet…

If you’re going to be bad in the NFL, you might as well enjoy the benefits of being bad.

The Denver Broncos need not only to enjoy the benefits of being bad (the high draft picks are a huge plus) but they obviously need to understand the magnitude of the position they are in as the staff coaching the North roster at the 2018 Senior Bowl.

This event is more than just a tool for the Broncos and the rest of the teams in the NFL to see these players together in a competitive situation, get measurements, and meet for 30 minutes with a couple of guys during a couple of nights during the week.

For the Denver Broncos, this is a chance to really make a more than calculated decision about the future of the franchise. The Broncos don’t have the opportunity to spend three days with Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold, but those two players might be gone when they pick anyway.

The Broncos do have the opportunity to spend three days coaching and getting to know Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen, and the former might be the top quarterback on their board based on the tape anyway.

Denver’s coaching staff, general manager John Elway, and his most trusted personnel guys Gary Kubiak and Matt Russell are all in attendance for what could prove to be the most important three days of the offseason.

At the Scouting Combine, these executives and coaches are only afforded so much time with each player. They can only bring 30 players in for pre-draft visits, and none of that includes live practice situations.

When all is said and done, the Broncos might know Mayfield and Allen about as well as they know the quarterbacks currently on their roster, and that knowledge will allow them to make the most educated decision they could possibly make in regards to the future of the franchise.

Will Mayfield and/or Allen’s performance at the Senior Bowl cause the Broncos to be less aggressive in their expected pursuit of Kirk Cousins? It would certainly seem to be the most financially responsible route to take, but again, there are no guarantees with the draft versus the certainty of free agency.

In free agency, you know who is going to be available, and you can make offers and counter offers. In the draft, you could be ready to turn in a card for a player, and all of a sudden, another team jumps ahead of you and alters your plan in an instant, and you’d have only 10 minutes to change course.

The lack of predictability of the draft will make the coming months the most telling of what the Broncos intend to do. Will they get a stop-gap veteran and draft someone to be their quarterback of the future? Will they sign a guy like Cousins to a long-term deal and forego drafting someone altogether?

The significance of the coming months for the Broncos cannot be understated. John Elway and company have very difficult decisions to make, but they are being equipped with the best possible situation having their staff in Mobile to make those decisions.

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Is there a strong enough case being made at the Senior Bowl right now that the Broncos would consider not even making Cousins — arguably a top 10 quarterback in the NFL — an offer at all?

Do you pass on the certainty of a guy like Cousins for the opportunity to get the NFL’s ‘next’ best thing?

To me, the Broncos are not a team in need of a rebuild. Everyone I’ve talked to here at the Senior Bowl has said that without any sort of fan’s bias.

Similar to the Carolina Panthers’ down year in 2016, the Broncos are expected — because of their great defense — to contend again sooner rather than later. That’s why blowing things up in Denver is not the idea I’m fully on board with at this point.

If the Broncos choose to move forward with their defense as the focal point still, they need to look to draft someone. They can have much more confidence in doing so after this week in Mobile, and that’s why this is the most critical juncture of the offseason fro this team.