Ranking 8 best starting QB scenarios for Broncos in 2024

  • Free agency pickings will be slim
  • The draft may be the best place to find the answer
  • One massive trade idea

Jan 7, 2024; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) throws a pass in the season finale against the Packers.
Jan 7, 2024; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) throws a pass in the season finale against the Packers. / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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J.J. McCarthy, Denver Broncos
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy points down the field during the second half of the College Football National Championship Game. / Melanie Maxwell / USA TODAY NETWORK

3. J.J. McCarthy

There is a lot to like about J.J. McCarthy, who just guided the Michigan Wolverines to the national championship. Unlike Penix and Nix, McCarthy is only 21 years old and could grow into the best prospect of the three by far.

If the Broncos were to draft McCarthy this spring, he could be a guy who sits a season and learns the nuances of the pro game while gaining experience from Payton and whoever the Broncos had in the starting role.

Signing a guy like Minshew or Winston and then drafting McCarthy or even riding with Stidham and drafting McCarthy are scenarios that make sense.

He is an athletic quarterback who stands 6-foot-3. He does not display elite arm talent and his processing will have to grow before he becomes a full-time starter, but the intangibles are certainly there and those are underscored by winning a championship in a season in which the Wolverines had to overcome Ohio State, Alabama and Washington.

McCarthy, Penix and Nix could all be available as second-round picks depending on how this draft goes but guess what, the Broncos don't have a second-round pick stemming from the trade for Payton. Does the team reach for one of these guys in the first round or go with a veteran?

That will be the question facing the team this offseason.