Broncos Draft Preview: Trading for Russell Wilson means Denver can watch top quarterbacks picks

Draft Preview: Quarterbacks

Broncos in-house offseason moves: Traded for Russell Wilson (Seattle), signed Josh Johnson (Baltimore) and re-signed Brett Rypien.

Under contract: Wilson (two years), Johnson (one year) and Rypien (one year).

Need scale (1-10): 1. The Broncos traded three players and five draft picks to acquire Wilson from the Seahawks and at age 33, he is the short- and long-term answer. Johnson figures to enter training camp as the favorite to be Wilson’s backup.

Top Five

1. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh: Could go as early as No. 6 to Carolina. Started 49 games over five years for Pitt. Threw 42 touchdowns and only seven interceptions last year.

2. Malik Willis, Liberty: A first-round sub-plot: Will a team trade up to top 10 for Willis? Maybe Pittsburgh. Threw 47 touchdowns/18 interceptions in two years for Liberty.

3. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati: Went 43-6 as Bearcats’ starter (87 touchdowns/28 interceptions). Two-time AAC Offensive Player of the Year. Career completion percentage of 62.1.

4. Sam Howell, North Carolina: We like him more than most; should be picked early in second round. Started all 37 college games (92 touchdowns/23 interceptions). Completion rate dipped from 68.1 to 62.5 in ‘21.

5. Matt Corral, Ole Miss: Threw 49 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in final two years (23 starts). Career completion rate of 67.3.

Broncos’ Options

The Broncos don’t have a first-round pick, but do have nine selections. A look at five possibilities for Day 3 (rounds 4-7):

1. Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky: Started career at Houston Baptist and followed offensive coordinator Zach Kittley to WKU, where he set FBS single-season records for passing yards (5,967) and touchdowns (62).

2. Dustin Crum, Kent State: Started 32 games, totaled 7,401 yards, 55 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions. Threw four touchdowns in bowl-game loss to Wyoming. Listed at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds.

3. Brock Purdy, Iowa State: The winningest quarterback in program history (30-16), left as school record holder in yards (12,170), touchdown passes (81) and completion rate (67.7). Also rushed for 19 touchdowns.

4. Kaleb Eleby, Western Michigan: Another quarterback under 6-foot. Started 23 games for Broncos (45 touchdowns and 11 interceptions). Bypassed senior year to declare for draft.

5. Jack Coan, Notre Dame: Started one full year at Wisconsin (2019), missed ’20 (foot injury) and transferred to Notre Dame. Started all 13 games for Irish (25 touchdowns, seven interceptions).

Tuesday: Defensive backs.

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