Finding Denver Broncos: Four Day 3 Quarterback Options to Upgrade Depth
The Denver Broncos have their starter in Russell Wilson, though it is yet to be determined if that will remain beyond the 2023 season. There is a legitimate chance the Broncos will be looking for a new starter after this next season.
First, however, Denver needs to upgrade its backup quarterback position, which can be done without hindering efforts to improve the roster elsewhere. Going into training camp with Brett Rypien and Josh Johnson competing for the backup job last season was utterly uninspiring, but the former eventually won the job.
However, it was made clear through camp and preseason that the Broncos needed better than Rypien. Now is the chance to improve that depth, especially after seeing the quarterback struggles from Wilson and Rypien in the regular season.
The quarterback crop in this year’s NFL draft class isn’t great, but it isn’t bad, especially when looking at Day 3 prospects as an attempt to improve the backup position.
Jake Haener | Fresno State
Haener has some tools to work with, but he doesn’t have the ideal size for the NFL. He is highly instinctive that works quite well on a rhythm. The timing and anticipation of his throws help cover up some other issues he has when throwing the ball, like the lack of ideal arm strength.
What helps Haener is while he isn’t a significant running threat, he can make plays outside of structure, and use his legs when needed. There is a good feel in the pocket for handling pressure, and his intangibles are outstanding.
What happens next on the Broncos? Don’t miss out on any news and analysis! Take a second, sign up for our free newsletter, and get breaking Broncos news delivered to your inbox daily!
Max Duggan | TCU
Duggan is an athlete and shows his ability to run the ball on the big stage of the college playoffs. He can throw off many different platforms and has a quick release. In addition, there is enough arm strength to challenge every level of the field. However, multiple issues will see him go later in the draft.
First of all, his reading of coverages is a significant issue, making many throws seem like they are targeting the defense. Secondly, he has problems dealing with pressure, which sees him try to work quicker and only heightens the issues of the first issue. Then thirdly, there is a severe accuracy issue as his placement is a complete scattershot.
Clayton Tune | Houston
The arm strength of Tune isn’t great, which can lead to issues challenging the defense vertically. However, Tune has a high football IQ and really had a grasp on the Houston offense and ran it well. With his arm strength, Tune can work the short and intermediate areas of the field horizontally with great timing and rhythm.
While Tune isn’t a running threat, he is plenty mobile and evades penetration in the pocket well. He has a quick processor and does well-reading defense but lacks the arm strength to throw with velocity or attack deep. Also, the farther the throw, the more his accuracy drops off.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson | UCLA
Of the quarterbacks in the class, Thompson-Robinson is one of the better athletes and runners in the group. His ability forces defenses to be aware of where he is no matter what because he is a threat. There is also a lot of experience and great tools to work with as a passer.
The issue is Thompson-Robinson has some of the same problems now as he did when he first started. That doesn’t mean there has been no growth, but he is still quite raw, which is also an issue of coaching at UCLA.
Thompson-Robinson’s accuracy isn’t great and wanes when he is on the move. There is also an issue when attacking outside the hashes, where his passes tend to fall off.
Follow Mile High Huddle on Twitter and Facebook.
Subscribe to Mile High Huddle on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.