Broncos general manager John Elway was front and center in Mobile, Ala., last week eyeballing former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. And while that's no guarantee that Denver will draft a quarterback with the fifth-overall pick, it does point to a glaring need at the position after Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and 2016 first-rounder Paxton Lynch were all, to varying degrees, huge disappointments last season.
The trio was so bad, in fact, that it was unclear if first-year coach Vance Joseph would make it to Year 2. He did, and you can bet he won't let any of the quarterbacks who saw the field in 2017 decide his fate in 2018.
This brings us to Kirk Cousins, a proven commodity in Washington who was originally drafted by Mike Shanahan, the former Broncos coach who won two Super Bowls with Elway under center. Cousins will hit free agency next month after the Redskins for Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.
Sporting News' Eric Gelko wrote last week that the Broncos are front-runners for Cousins' services, and that was days before the Redskins traded for Smith.
From what I’ve heard, and I asked a lot of people this week, It seems it’s more likely than not that Kirk plays for the #Broncos next year. And the contract details mat be very interesting. Arizona in the mix as well.— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) January 26, 2018
If they sign Kirk, I don’t expect a QB at 5. https://t.co/ZQeucd80Vz
And CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora echoed simliar sentiments on Wednesday morning:
Many teams are high on Kirk Cousins. But when it gets down to the mega-money at the end, the Jets and Broncos likely battle for his services— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 31, 2018
You know who else is high on Cousins-to-Denver? Broncos pass rusher Von Miller, who said in December following a Broncos-Redskins matchup (via PFT): "Kirk's a great quarterback. I'll say that every day of the week. A lot of teams would kill to have a quarterback like that."
Miller's feelings haven't changed; on Wednesday he told "The Dan Patrick Show" that "[Kirk] knows exactly how I feel about Kirk Cousins and what he'd mean to our team. And what he would mean to a lot of other teams. He's the hot quarterback on the market right now. ... Yeah, we need Kirk. We need Kirk. I'd like to have Kirk. We have great quarterbacks now. Kirk could take us over the edge. But it's the National Football League -- there are a lot of teams that need Kirk."
Miller's right -- the Broncos need Cousins because the trio of Siemian, Osweiler and Lynch were well below replacement-level talents this season, which goes a long way in explaining how the team has gone from Super Bowl champions in 2015, to 9-7 last year to a five-win outfit in 2017.