8992915.jpg

Jockeying for position in a franchise quarterback arms race, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway reportedly fixated his attention on Drew Lock.

Per The Denver Post's Mark Kizla, Elway is "smitten" with the Missouri gunslinger, whom he's now twice seen up-close and personal — during the 2018 regular season and again during the Senior Bowl.

Kizla termed Elway's interest as "the worst-kept secret" in Mobile, where The Duke tipped his hand, The Post's Ryan O'Halloran echoed.

A connecting of the dots would suggest Elway and Co. are trying to fall in love with Lock. Elway was at the Arkansas-Missouri game in November. Elway was at the Senior Bowl practices for three days and barely left the quarterback group. I believe the Broncos are targeting multiple quarterbacks (as they should) and Lock is probably one of them (as he should be). But the uneducated eye test tells me Lock is not worth trading up the board to select because of what it will cost the Broncos (their second-round pick and 2020 first rounder for starters).

What's next for the Denver Broncos? Don’t miss out on any news and analysis, take a second to sign up for our FREE Broncos newsletter, delivered three times daily!

Lock experienced a decent week before the smorgasbord of NFL coaches, scouts and executives. He flashed his calling-card arm strength and physical talent, and was extremely relaxed in dealings with the media. But he struggled with mental processing, his biggest red flag, and drew condemnation among the scouting community. As the actual game goes, Lock completed nine of 14 passes for 57 yards, helping the North team top the South squad, 34-24.

Considered the second-best QB in a historically subpar class, behind Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins, Lock completed 883 of 1553 attempts for 12,193 yards, 99 touchdowns and 39 interceptions across four seasons for the Tigers. Standing 6-foot-3 and boasting a cannon, albeit needing mechanical refinement, he's drawn comparisons ranging from former Broncos QB Jay Cutler to current thorn in the side Patrick Mahomes.

Numerous mock drafts have linked Lock, a presumptive top-ten selection, to the needy Broncos, who pick tenth overall and lukewarmly committed to Case Keenum as the tentative 2019 starter. They're fully expected to be in the market — free agency or the draft — to upgrade the sport's most crucial spot.

Lock, who grew up a Chiefs fan, stated last Monday he would "love every bit" of playing for Elway while sticking it to the Broncos' bitter rival twice a year.

“Of course I’m going to be so excited to get picked up by anybody," he said in an interview with Orange and Blue 760, via Predominantly Orange. "I originally was a — notice I said ‘originally’ — I originally was a Chiefs fan. You wouldn’t think (they’re going to draft me), not with how well Patrick (Mahomes) is playing. So I was always in love with them, and once that (Patrick Mahomes) happened I knew I wasn’t going to be a Chief anymore. So I had to block that out of my brain. So I guess anyone that gets to play the Chiefs I’d be a huge fan of playing for. I think the Broncos do that every once in a while.”

With the Scouting Combine, Pro Days, and private interviews still to come, it's possible Elway sours on Lock or hitches his star to another QB prospect, such as Haskins, Kyler Murray or Daniel Jones. It's also within the realm of possibility he chops Keenum and pursues a similar veteran band-aid, like Nick Foles, Joe Flacco or Ryan Tannehill.

What Elway cannot do, from this point out, is hide his attraction to Lock. That card has been played.