Denver Broncos: The cost of trading up one spot for a QB

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 31: Mitchell Trubisky
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 31: Mitchell Trubisky /

The Denver Broncos could be poised to secure a quarterback by moving up one spot in the 2018 NFL Draft. What is the cost for such a move?

Albert Breer of MMQB recently proposed the idea that the Denver Broncos could trade up one spot in the 2018 NFL Draft with the Cleveland Browns to draft a quarterback. If the Broncos are going to take a quarterback in the first round, that seems like the most likely scenario, but at what cost?

The cost of moving up even just one spot in the draft is pretty substantial.

There’s precedence for this from 2017, when the Chicago Bears moved up from the third spot to the second spot to secure quarterback Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina, a player they determined to be their franchise quarterback and quarterback of the future.

Though Trubisky spent a little bit of time behind Mike Glennon, it didn’t take long for the Bears to realize that he was the better player and the time to move on to the future came relatively quickly.

Will the Denver Broncos have a similar situation?

If the Broncos want to follow the Bears’ 2017 model, and the price is exactly the same, the picks involved will look like this:

Essentially, this four-for-one swap would involve the Broncos surrendering their first, third, and fourth round picks this year and a 2019 third rounder to move up one spot with the Browns.

Things could get complicated if the Browns receive offers from other teams involving future first round picks.

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The Broncos’ leverage here is the fact that they pick just one spot behind Cleveland, who may have targeted someone in the top five in addition to whatever quarterback they choose at number one overall (rumored to be Sam Darnold) that they do not want to miss out on.

If, for instance, the Browns don’t want to miss out on Saquon Barkley, and the Broncos play a little hardball in trade negotiations, it’s possible the Broncos could just stay put at number five overall or at least threaten it and see if the Browns are really willing to move out of the top five picks after taking a quarterback at number one overall.

I don’t know how likely that is, to be honest.

The ideal situation is obviously one where the Broncos don’t have to move off of the fifth overall selection at all. Even though they have extra picks in the third and fourth round, it’s not going to be ideal to pick a guy in the first round who won’t (likely) start this year and then to surrender your top third round pick.

Basically, the Broncos would be deciding that their roster is good enough as it is to win now, compete in the future, and they don’t need but one starting caliber player from this year’s draft class to contribute right away (in this case, their second round pick at number 40 overall).

That’s one reason I am not excited about a potential trade up one spot. You are giving up quite a bit in draft capital to ensure a very important position is solidified, but at a great cost.

It’s a risk the Broncos might be willing to take with some cap space opening up after this season and some freedom to potentially build around their quarterback of the future.