NFL Draft Rumors: Chiefs WR fix, Commanders QB stunner, Broncos QB smokescreen?

  • Is the Broncos' interest in J.J. McCarthy a feint?
  • Commanders projected to draft Jaydan Daniels over Drake Maye
  • Chiefs address WR shortage in lastest ESPN mock draft

Xavier Worthy, Texas Longhorns
Xavier Worthy, Texas Longhorns / Tim Warner/GettyImages
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NFL Draft rumors: Broncos projected to start season with familiar face at QB

The Denver Broncos' interest in J.J. McCarthy has been making waves all week. He is apparently Sean Payton's favorite prospect, even drawing comparisons to Drew Brees. That is an absurdly high bar to set for the Michigan product, but hey, he just won the National Championship. McCarthy's poise on college football's biggest stage was always going to win over NFL talent evaluators.

That said, the latest odds for Denver's 2024 starting QB suggest a potential smokescreen. Are the Broncos truly interested in McCarthy, or are they just trying to drum up trade interest in the No. 12 overall pick? Bet Colorado has Jarrett Stidham as the favorite (+175) to begin the 2024 season as the starting quarterback in Denver.

McCarthy notably has the second-best odds (+700), with fellow 2024 draft prospect Bo Nix (+800) not far behind. Incumbent Broncos starter Russell Wilson has the worst odds at +1500, which is not surprising. The 35-year-old recently iterated a desire to stay in Denver, but the Broncos went out of their way to ensure that Wilson's contract was easy to get out of this spring.

Whether he is the next Drew Brees or not (he's not), McCarthy does fit the Sean Payton style of offense. He was cushioned by Michigan's run-heavy scheme, but McCarthy regularly delivered advanced passes under tremendous pressure for the Wolverines. His ability to execute in high-stress environments will appeal to NFL scouts and coaches alike.

That said, if the Broncos decide to punt on the QB position in the draft, Stidham is lined up for his first full-time starting gig. He appeared in three games (two starts) for the Broncos last season, completing 60.6 percent of his passes for 496 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. That isn't the sexiest outcome for Denver, but Stidham is familiar with the offense and, most importantly, he's cheap.