As noted earlier, the Broncos would be wise to move up (at least two spots) to get in front of the Panthers for Lance's services. As Brendan Donahue notes in his mock draft, the Broncos have "one of the most talented rosters on offense and the only thing holding them back was their inconsistent QB play."
If the top-five quarterbacks are off the board before the Broncos pick (as they are in this mock), Parsons would make sense here. The 2019 first-team AP All-American is a versatile, three-down linebacker that uses his athleticism, length and instincts to impact the game against the run, in coverage and as a blitzer.
Our first defensive player checks in at No. 9. Depending on what GM George Paton thinks of QB Drew Lock, Justin Fields could be in play -- as could a trade back with another QB-needy franchise. But Surtain is instinctive and a natural playmaker, and the Broncos' 2020 opponents had an 86.3 QBR when targeting receivers. Even after bringing in Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller, cornerback sticks out as a position seeking impact players. (Fuller is on a one-year deal.)
The Broncos have talent all over the roster, but there's a clear hole at quarterback after Drew Lock rated as one of the league's worst at the position in 2020. Denver should be able to beat Carolina's offer to jump to this spot, considering a trade between the division rival Panthers and Falcons is unlikely. With coach Vic Fangio building an impressive defense, Lance can help the team become an AFC contender -- if he reaches the tremendous potential he showed in a dominant 17 games at the FCS level.
Another major shakeup in this week's mock. Now that we have more certainty that the QBs will be going off the board early, I don't think Jones goes outside of the top 10. Denver, somewhat under the radar, has one of the most talented rosters on offense and the only thing holding them back was their inconsistent QB play last year. A team with this kind of talent doesn't want to waste another year of it so they go with a QB that fits more of John Elway's typical profile at the position.
A classic Vic Fangio defense usually features a playmaking linebacker at its core. Parsons is another elite prospect who opted out of the 2020 season, citing "the potential risk to the health and well-being" of his young son due to COVID. He recently dazzled scouts with a 4.39 40-yard dash at his pro day. This would be the first time in my lifetime the first defensive player off the board lasts this long.
Now that San Francisco has made its big move, expect other teams that need quarterbacks to attempt to follow suit. Enter the Broncos, who just bolstered their secondary in free agency by re-signing safety Justin Simmons to a long-term deal and adding cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller. Next it's time to improve the offense. With a young, talent-packed offensive skill group, Denver seems like it's a game-changing QB away from contention. That's where this move--and Fields--would come in. With a strong arm and rare athleticism, he has the talent to put the Broncos over the top.
With the Broncos missing out on the top four quarterbacks, could new GM George Paton give defensive-minded head coach Vic Fangio more help in the heart of the unit? Micah Parsons opted out of the 2020 season, but he's a versatile linebacker who can do anything asked of him. However, there are a few off-field concerns that need to be answered, most notably a fight with a teammate in 2018 and his involvement in a lawsuit against Penn State that alleges hazing and harassment.