Denver Broncos draft rumors: Reading into Shurmur at QB pro days
There are now just two weeks until the 2021 NFL Draft. What are the Denver Broncos going to do at the quarterback position?
At this point, it seems like it’s pretty obvious that the team wants Drew Lock on the roster, but will there be a top rookie joining him or some other short-term hedge?
The Denver Broncos hold the 9th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and there is a better-than-decent chance they will be taking a quarterback if one of Trey Lance or Justin Fields falls to that pick. The closer we get to the draft itself, the more it feels like new general manager George Paton might be willing to even trade up for one.
Paton has somewhat shown his hand regarding where he stands on the quarterback position, pursuing a possible long-term solution at the quarterback position by attending the pro days of Zach Wilson (BYU), Justin Fields (Ohio State), and Trey Lance (North Dakota State).
Although Paton will not have the chance to draft Wilson, who is expected to go to the Jets at pick no. 2 overall, he could very well have the opportunity to select one of Fields or Lance.
Paton was joined at the pro days by director of scouting Brian Stark (Paton’s number two in the front office, essentially) as well as quarterbacks coach Mike Shula.
The absence of offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur on those trips seemed notable at the time, but the Denver Broncos are taking advantage of auxiliary pro days being held by both Fields and Lance by sending Shurmur as well as director of pro personnel AJ Durso to see Fields and Lance in person.
According to NFL Network reporter James Palmer, the Denver Broncos’ presence at the secondary pro days of Fields and Lance is something we should all be reading into.
Again, to emphasize the point James is making here, the pendulum seems to have been swinging this way for a few weeks at this point, at least if you’ve been reading the tea leaves.
The Broncos were willing to part with their first-round pick for Matthew Stafford and a second-round pick, but the Lions took the offer they were given by the Los Angeles Rams.
George Paton completely passed on the free agent quarterback market. Underwhelming as that group was, he could have gotten a guy that could have started for the team in 2021. He more notably passed on the team-friendly trade market beyond Stafford, apparently not viewing players like Carson Wentz, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, or maybe Marcus Mariota as better options than Drew Lock for the price they went for (or didn’t go for at all).
At this point, it’s clear that the Denver Broncos — and specifically new GM George Paton — believe what they’ve been saying all offseason. They like Drew Lock’s potential. They view him as a viable option this season and potentially moving forward.
Lock needs to improve in areas, specifically at taking care of the ball, but the Broncos’ actions to this point show that for the price, they like Lock over most options available.
But Shurmur’s presence at Fields’ second pro day and his eventual presence at Lance’s second pro day is very notable.
This shows that the Denver Broncos have potentially fallen in love with one or both of these prospects. Pat Shurmur didn’t attend the first of these guys’ pro days and neither did Vic Fangio or Ed Donatell attend any pro days, at least not that we know of.
Fangio has always preferring having the coaches stay back and use the additional time watching film. Shurmur has undoubtedly seen film on Fields and Lance. He’s undoubtedly formed an opinion of both guys based on that.
He doesn’t need to be going to the pro day with Paton, Stark, and Shula, especially if the team is trying to form a well-rounded opinion of each guy. They have to form their own individual opinions, not sit in an echo chamber, and that’s likely why Shurmur is now attending the second throwing sessions for these guys.
My theory is that Shurmur had already given his opinions about each of these players based on their college tape before the pro day circuit even began. Paton has stated he likes to see guys in person and get a feel for them, and that’s the scout in him.
Shurmur is not a scout, but he can still help with the talent evaluation through film study.
The fact that they are sending Shurmur to both Fields’ and Lance’s pro day is indicative that the Broncos’ front office and coaching staff are both high on both players, at least that is the perception. It’s impossible to know that for certain without being a fly on the wall.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Broncos felt like they could really build around Fields or Lance and they are having Shurmur and Durso head to pro days so those two guys can get an in-person feel, and perhaps confirm the team’s plans one way or another.
The price of trading up goes up by the day, but the Denver Broncos have remained patient. The secondary throwing sessions for two of the draft’s top quarterbacks have afforded Paton and company the chance to really put a full, comprehensive report together with involvement from everyone in the front office, scouting department, and coaching staff.
What will happen after Lance’s throwing session on Monday? Will the Broncos come to a decision about moving up for someone or will they simply be content to take one of these guys should one of them fall to the 9th pick?
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It will be fascinating to see how it all unfolds.