Are QB-needy Broncos a trade-down target for Bengals in 2021 NFL draft?

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Chris Roling
·2 min read
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The Denver Broncos might be the team desperate enough to find a long-term answer at quarterback in the 2021 NFL draft that helps the Cincinnati Bengals get a big win of a trade down in the first round.

Cincinnati has to want to move out of the fifth pick, of course. But doing so could net invaluable resources while still sticking in the top 10 and landing a premium prospect.

Denver gets a nod here because Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer just detailed how hard the Broncos gunned after Matthew Stafford before he was traded to the Rams:

The Broncos are lurking as a team that could get aggressive at quarterback. We have a few pieces of evidence indicating that. First, they made a good—but not great—offer for Stafford back in February, proposing a deal that would’ve sent the ninth pick to Detroit with the quarterback and a second-rounder coming back (they were outbid not just by the Rams, but also Washington and Carolina on that front). “

Breer goes on to mention just how many quarterback prospects the Broncos have watched closely during the run up to the draft.

Now here’s the kicker — that price of a ninth pick and a second-rounder will only go up from here. With the Jets trading away Sam Darnold, it looks like the first three picks will be quarterbacks. Maybe Atlanta takes one at four, too. The Bengals at five are the sweet spot for a trade up to get the fourth or fifth quarterback off the board.

But the Broncos would have to pay the price for such a move.

Since the Bengals would know the Broncos are desperate, the baseline for a trade would be No. 9, a second-rounder and more. The Broncos have the 40th and 71st selections in this year’s draft, plus the Bengals could ask for premium assets in 2022.

Point being, nobody should have a trade down off the table yet. Adding another pick in the top 50 could mean two long-term starters on the offensive line, plus a starting wideout. The names wouldn’t be as flashy, but it would be hard to complain about the Bengals leaning into some leverage and getting a huge win of a trade with Denver.

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Every player drafted No. 5 overall since 2001