The Denver Broncos are going to have to embrace the idea of a complete rebuild, and soon. That starts with making moves ahead of this season's trade deadline, continues with making some difficult decisions in the offseason to clear cap space and then re-tooling the roster in the draft.
If the Broncos are to move on from some of their players and trade them before Halloween, the assumption would be that the team receives multiple 2024 draft picks in return. Now, the team does not currently have a pick in the second round, as that pick was part of the Sean Payton package, but for the purpose of this exercise, it will be assumed that the Broncos collect one of those in a pre-deadline trade.
Taking a look at the 2024 draft class, here are some players the Broncos could grab to begin that rebuilding process. According to Tankathon, the Broncos currently hold the No. 3 overall pick in the draft and so that is what we will go with here.
This will also be assuming that each of these college players declares for the NFL draft following this season.
Denver Broncos mock draft, First round: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
It would be nice to land USC's Caleb Williams, but that is almost certainly going to take having the No. 1 overall pick. But Drake Maye looks like a great No. 2 option right now and his name is going to be tied to Denver until April.
The Broncos must use this pick on a quarterback, regardless of the status of Russell Wilson at the time and for me, that is not up for debate.
Maye is a prototypical NFL passer and there are some scouts who may even put him above Williams on their overall board. He can make all the throws, he can threaten a defense with his mobility and he is instinctive and athletic enough to make plays off script that will set him apart from most quarterbacks.
He has had a great season for the undefeated Tar Heels, throwing for 1,902 yards and 12 touchdowns with just four interceptions to this point. But he has been especially potent in the team's last three games against Pitt, Syracuse and Miami, throwing for 1,011 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Broncos need to try and find the quarterback of the future and Maye seems like a true candidate to be that for a team.