Share this story...
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 07: Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs with the ball in the BIG Ten Football Championship Game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Latest News

Clayton: The Falcons and Lions hold the keys to the Broncos draft

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Broncos have to pay attention to what the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions do in the draft.

The Falcons have the fourth pick in the first round. The Lions have the seventh. How they handle those picks will have a big impact on the Broncos, who have the ninth pick.

It looks as though Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Mac Jones will be the top three picks. Where Justin Fields goes could signal if the Broncos would be able to get Fields or Trey Lance at quarterback.

The Falcons could take him at No. 4, but I still think they will take Oregon tackle Penei Sewell over Kyle Pitts. They could work a trade with a team wanted to get Fields.

The long shot is the Falcons taking Fields, but it’s not impossible. Matt Ryan has $108 million of prorated signing bonus money that counts against the cap. That means at the very least Ryan will the starting quarterback for the next two years.

The Lions could be all over the place. They could take Fields at No. 7. They could trade down to a team wanting to get the fourth-best quarterback. They could take a wide receiver, a cornerback and maybe even a linebacker.

One thing we know is the Carolina Panthers won’t be taking a quarterback at No. 8. That thought ended with they trade for Sam Darnold. They now have their quarterback.

Quarterback options still remain for the Broncos. Trey Lance could fall to them at No. 9. The Panthers could try to get Teddy Bridgewater to a Broncos-favored trade. They are on the hook for a $10 million guarantee of his base salary. Alex Smith is still out there. They could make a cheap trade for Gardner Minshew.

I still think the Broncos will lean toward drafting a position player and I think it would be an offensive lineman over a cornerback. They are three deep at corner, even though two are free agents next year. Taking a cornerback at No. 9 would be taking a corner who is going to sit his first year.