Broncos scouting potential future franchise QB up close

Denver Broncos getting close look at UNC QB Drake Maye
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

Although the Denver Broncos have 11 games remaining in 2023, the team's 1-5 record means you've got to have at least one eye on 2024. The Broncos are currently projected to pick 2nd overall in the 2024 NFL Draft after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, and with the way things have gone in the first six weeks of the season, it wouldn't be surprising if they remain in contention for one of the top two picks throughout the season.

On Saturday, the Denver Broncos have at least one scout on hand to get an up-close look at one of the best overall prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft class as well as one of the best quarterbacks in the class. That prospect is none other than North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye.

ESPN's Jordan Reid initially reported the Broncos' presence at the game.

Not only will the Broncos be getting a look at Drake Maye in this game, but Miami Hurricanes defenders Leonard Taylor (DL) and Kam Kinchens (S) are other potential first-round picks on the field in this game. But the headliner in any game North Carolina is playing will pretty much always be Drake Maye, who is expected to be the 2nd overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft behind USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

Although the most exciting name in the 2024 NFL Draft is Caleb Williams, Drake Maye is more than just a consolation prize. He looks like a future big-time NFL starting quarterback and would likely be a top overall pick in many different NFL Draft classes.

Given the Denver Broncos' current context, the idea of the team eating dead money and cutting Russell Wilson after the 2023 season has been given a violent shove into reality. Nobody wanted to see it turn out that way, especially because Wilson's new deal with the Broncos technically doesn't even kick in until 2024. That's just the way things are.

The Broncos can save $37 million in cash Wilson is owed in 2025 by cutting Wilson before the fifth day of the 2024 league year. And frankly, moving on from Wilson will be a necessity to expedite the Broncos' rebuilding that is long overdue. Wilson elevating everyone on the team would have been fantastic if it had actually happened, but he will be 35 years old in about six weeks. He turns 36 next season.

The team not having success on the field means there's no justification for continually spinning your wheels with Russell Wilson. The Broncos will have to move on, save that $37 million in 2025 cash, and go with a rookie and Jarrett Stidham next year.

That is, barring an unforeseen explosion of wins in 2023. Nobody is holding their breath.


And Drake Maye could be the guy the Broncos pick to enter into an actual future. The team has really never had success with its own drafted quarterbacks. Tim Tebow is the only QB drafted by the Broncos to ever win a playoff game with the team. Obviously, the Broncos have won three Super Bowl titles without their own "drafted" QBs but in order to actually compete with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, the Broncos need a true field general who can go toe to toe with him. Mahomes is only 28 years old.

Getting someone like Drake Maye or Caleb Williams could alter the course of the Denver Broncos as a franchise dramatically.

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