The end of Case and the case for at quarterback at No. 10
Elway, please pick a QB at No. 10
March 7, 2019
Case Keenum, we hardly knew ye.
The Broncos’ latest savior at quarterback is being shipped to Washington to make way for the Joe Flacco Era, which follows Keenum Era, the Trevor Siemian Era, the Brock Osweiler Era and the Paxton Lynch Error, er, Era.
Give Broncos general manager John Elway a wee bit of credit for not eating all of Keenum’s salary for 2019 — Washington and Denver will share in paying his salary — but it brings us to a defining issue.
NFL franchises do not acquire superstar quarterbacks via free agency. They draft them. This should be kind of obvious to Elway, who was the No. 1 pick of the 1983 draft and maneuvered a trade from the then-Baltimore Colts to the Broncos.
Elway lucked into Peyton Manning. Please remember that Manning was coming off a neck injury, which made him available, and that Manning was down to Denver and the San Francisco 49ers in the end, and chose the former so he wouldn’t have to face his brother Eli and the New York Giants on a regular basis.
How to find a franchise QB
But since we’re trying to help John Elway, here are the top quarterbacks in quarterback rating (QBR) from the 2018 season.
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• Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City … The 10th pick from the 2017 draft. He sat a year behind Alex Smith and promptly destroyed pretty much everyone but the Patriots.
• Drew Brees, New Orleans … Taken in the second round by the then-San Diego Chargers. A major shoulder injury and the drafting of Philip Rivers moved him to New Orleans, where he has become Breesus.
• Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh … No. 11 back in 2004. Two Super Bowls later it seems like a good pick.
• Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago … No. 2 pick in 2017. Now if he could just kick a field goal.
• Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay … I wouldn’t have thought he was No. 5 in QBR, but he did go No. 1 in 2015.
• Andrew Luck, Indianapolis … Yes, he’s had injuries, but the Comeback Player of the Year in 2018 is a stud when healthy. Oh, yes, he went No. 1 in 2012.
• Philip Rivers, San Diego-Los Angeles Chargers … As mentioned, he displaced Brees by being the No. 4 pick in 2004. As much as Broncos fans don’t like him, Rivers is good.
• Matt Ryan, Atlanta … He got the Falcons to a Super Bowl, for crying out loud. We’ll not mention the second half of that game. He was the No. 3 pick in 2008.
• Tom Brady, New England … You might have heard of him. Yes, the Patriots lucked into him in the sixth round, but New England has made its own luck during its dynasty.
• Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams … After being freed from the bondage of coach Jeff Fisher during his rookie season, the No. 1 pick of 2016 is the real deal.
Do we notice a theme? All were drafted. Only Brees has moved from his original team under extraordinary circumstances.
Drafting at No. 10
The fact remains that the only quarterback whom the Broncos have drafted who has won a playoff game is Tim Tebow. (No, remember, the old Baltimore Colts drafted Elway.) One would hope, instead of picking people off the scrap pile (ahem, Keenum or Flacco), it might be time to look for the franchise quarterback.
The Broncos have the 10th pick this year and may be encountering some good fortune as Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray’s draft status has rocketed in recent weeks. Yes, he won the Heisman, but there is talk of the Arizona Cardinals taking him at No. 1, a big risk given that he’s only played one full season at the college level.
With the Oakland Raiders at No. 4 also showing interest in Murray, it’s possible that quarterbacks like Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), Daniel Jones (Duke and a David Cutcliffe protege) or Drew Lock (Missouri) could be available for Denver at No. 10.
In the meantime, good luck, Case, in Washington, D.C.