Broncos don’t feel obligated to take QB with 12th overall pick

The Denver Broncos figure to select a quarterback in next week’s NFL draft, but aren’t willing to say if they will use the No. 12 overall pick on a new signal caller.

The Broncos moved on from Russell Wilson earlier in the offseason and have a big need at the position with Jarrett Stidham listed atop the depth chart.

“You would say, ‘Man, it sure looks like we have to draft a quarterback,'” Broncos coach Sean Payton said Thursday during a press conference. “And yet, it has to be the right fit and the right one.

“If we had the tip sheets as to who everyone else was taking, it would be easier to answer that question. That’s the puzzle here.”

Caleb Williams from Southern California is expected to be selected first overall by the Chicago Bears.

North Carolina’s Drake Maye, LSU’s Jayden Daniels and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy also are forecasted to go high in the draft.

Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. could be available when the Broncos select.

Regardless of the quarterback order, Denver general manager George Paton said getting the pick right is the most important thing. He also said the 12th overall pick doesn’t necessarily have to be a quarterback.

“What you don’t want to do here is force it,” Paton said. “Otherwise, we will be in this position next year and the years after. You want to get the right player at No. 12. Our first pick we have to hit on, whether it’s a quarterback, whether it’s a tackle, a receiver or you name it. We need to get an impact player.”

Paton likes the group of quarterbacks but didn’t want to talk specifics.

“I’m not going to talk about our board right now,” Paton said. “I do think that it’s a good quarterback class. (There are) seven, eight quarterbacks that we like and that we think can play in the league one day.

“I’m not going to get into how we have them rated or the Top 10. I’m not going to go there, but it is a good quarterback class. It’s been fun getting to know them, seven or eight of them. We think that we can take a quarterback early; we think (we can get one in) the mid-rounds.

“We think that there are going to be quarterbacks throughout the draft that are interesting to us.”

The outside pressure is heating up on the Broncos since they have missed the playoffs eight straight seasons. That just makes hitting on a quarterback more vital.

“Certainly, there are certain positions within the framework of our team right now where the vision could be clearer than maybe other positions,” Payton said.

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