Like a starry-eyed groom with no bride, the Broncos head into the 2019 draft still dreaming of landing a franchise quarterback of their very own. But as it stands now, pickings are slim and there might be more suitors than prospects.
Affairs of the heart, however, are wistful, ever hopeful, and so often, entirely impractical. And in the NFL, as in real life, fantasies die hard deaths when everyone’s out there looking for the same thing.
I have no personal experience with such matters, but once heard a similar narrative in a country song and thought it applied nicely here …
Ironically, the 2019 NFL Draft will be held April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn., the home of timeless tunes about hard luck, heartbreak, poor choices and shattered dreams. Do you see where I’m headed with this? Of course you do.
After personally examining the nine teams picking ahead of the Broncos in the draft, and the number of potential franchise quarterbacks available, a garden of black roses with giant, gnarly thorns has sprouted in my heart. Neither a raging whiskey river nor an angel flying too close to the ground could possibly heal my aching heart.
I’ve got that sinking feeling, like the Broncos might just have to wait for their proverbial day in the sun. A feeling, more specifically, like quarterback Drew Lock will be gone with the wind when Elway steps to the altar with the tenth pick in the draft.
Let me explain, as misery loves company and pain is more bearable when it’s shared. Join me now and let’s drown together in this raging sea of quarterback sorrow.
So there are really only three quarterbacks who look well-suited for the rigors of the NFL: Kyler Murray of Oklahoma, who won the Heisman Trophy last season; Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State, who posted video-game-type numbers in 2018; and Drew Lock of Missouri, who, by all reports, is the object of Elway’s desire.
Lock is the third-best pick here, and the other two would look great in Denver orange, but the Cardinals and Giants are going to snatch them up with the first and sixth picks, respectively. So let’s not muddy the waters with Murray and Haskins, because there’s no sense chasing shooting stars.
Mick Jagger said it best: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.” Lock, in this instance, is clearly what the Broncos need. I know … I switched genres on you.
Which teams are left, and what are their needs? The Bills, at number nine, already have their quarterback of the future with Josh Allen. The Lions, at number eight, are still happily married to Texas-bred gunslinger Matthew Stafford. The Jaguars, at number seven, just went all in on Nick Foles and they are still on their honeymoon, so they pose no threat.
Tampa Bay at number six, for whatever reason, still seems committed to Jameis Winston. That is a deeply dysfunctional relationship, however, and Lock could be an option in Tampa Bay. Let’s just say the Buccaneers are notorious for standing beside falling trees, and hope that trend continues.
The Jets, at number three, got their man last season by selecting quarterback Sam Darnold. He didn’t look that sharp in 2018, but rumor has it that the Jets are still very committed to his development and still think he’s the answer moving forward.
The problem, as I see it, might come at number four. The dreaded Oakland Raiders, under the direction of the ever-unpredictable Jon Gruden, could be ready to move on from quarterback Derek Carr. Despite Gruden’s recent announcement that Carr would be the man next season, I am concerned that he might just be using that as a smoke screen.
Wouldn’t it be just like the Raiders, and just like Gruden, to sink a knife into the Broncos back by taking Lock? In fact, I would feel more secure had Gruden not publically endorsed Carr. That public endorsement seems a perfect launching pad to picking Lock. Carr has had his share of injuries, and Lock would provide an ideal insurance policy in that regard.
So while Elway might see Lock as the long-term solution, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to find out on draft day that the Raiders or Buccaneers do as well. As any high school boy could attest, the scramble for a prom date is hectic and unpredictable, and you never know what the next guy might do.
Lock could be the stuff of legends. He could be the savior at quarterback. He could be the next John Elway or Peyton Manning. He could be the horse we ride to a half-dozen future Super Bowls. He could be the long-term answer to all our quarterback fantasies.
Or he could be, depending upon the whims of Gruden and the Raiders, like Carrie Underwood’s 2007 hit, “Just a Dream.”