Much was made about the Denver Broncos passing on Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft, and 2023 could be the first year where Denver truly regrets passing on the quarterback. I would hate to see it, but 2023 could be that year when the Broncos regret their decision.
In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos has the ninth overall pick, and both Justin Fields and Mac Jones were still on the board. Many thought that both Fields and Jones were capable of being franchise quarterbacks in the NFL, and there were even rumors swirling that Mac Jones could have gone third overall to the San Francisco 49ers.
Well, the Broncos were on the clock, and many in Broncos Country, myself included, thought that Fields was going to be the pick. The former Ohio State quarterback was a polarizing prospect. Many Ohio State quarterbacks who make it to the NFL end up being huge misses, so that's led to people taking more caution with QBs from OSU, which isn't entirely fair.
People did the same thing with Justin Fields, but when the draft card was turned in and pick was instead Patrick Surtain II, it came as a shock. George Paton obviously defended the draft pick, saying that it's harder to find a franchise cornerback than a franchise quarterback, which is quite the statement, but so far, Surtain is clearly a better player than Fields.
However, Fields plays a much more valuable position and did improve as a passer and a rusher in 2022, and that's led many to believe that Fields is going to explode in year three. Not only did he rush for over 1,000 yards in year two, but his passer rating significantly improved. Furthermore, Ryan Poles, GM of the Chicago Bears, has put quite the offensive team around Fields.
Their offensive line is much improved, and they have a nasty trio of wide receivers in DJ Moore, Chase Claypool, and Darnell Mooney. I think something that would truly anger Broncos' fans is Justin Fields breaking out in 2023 and Russell Wilson not improving much. It would be a horrible scenario to endure, and many would go back to the 2021 NFL Draft as a huge miss by George Paton, who has made his fair share of mistakes as GM of the Broncos.
Ideally, just so people don't have more to complain about with the Denver Broncos, Russell Wilson returns to his old self and Justin Fields end up enduring a brutal season. That would end that discussion.