(247 SPORTS) – Chris Harris Jr. specifically named three prospects who he wants the Denver Broncos to spend their first-round pick on, none of whom boast the surnames Darnold, Mayfield, Rosen or Allen.
Holding court with the media Tuesday, the Broncos’ All-Pro cornerback gave a pointed answer to a question regarding his preference for the No. 5 overall selection in this week’s draft.
Spoiler: It’s not a quarterback.
“Somebody who’s going to come in and play,” Harris said. “We’re going to need somebody who can come in and play now, whether that be [RB Saquon] Barkley, [DE Bradley] Chubb, the guard from Notre Dame [Quenton Nelson], one of those three guys. We know those guys can come in and play right now. We’re trying to win now, we don’t have time to wait.”
Harris’ wishes could align with the Broncos’ intentions. The team reportedly will consider trading down if their preferred QBs — whomever they may be — are off the board when they go on the clock. Unfortunately for him, however, doing so would remove Barkley and Chubb from contention, and likely Nelson, depending how far Denver falls back.
But his comments go beyond any particular rookie signal-caller. They underscore the fact that the Broncos cracked open their checkbook for Case Keenum, giving the 30-year-old a two-year, $36 million contract to assume the starting role. Doing so suggested the club expects to compete in 2018; it’s a reboot, not a rebuild, as Vance Joseph would say.
Thus far, through a week of the offseason program, Harris is encouraged by Keenum, enough to justify eschewing a Darnold or Mayfield in the draft.
“I like him,” he said. “I think we played Case probably like twice. He was always solid, he doesn’t turn the ball over. Everybody I’ve talked to, receivers, they’re excited about him. They say he throws an easy ball to catch. That’s what you want to hear, they haven’t said that too many times since Peyton [Manning] was here. I think they’re pretty excited.”
No matter whose name the Broncos scribble on their top draft card, they must get the right guy — a day-one contributor. This isn’t lost on the locker room.
“We talk about it all the time,” Harris said. “That’s what you do, you talk football when you come to work (laughing). We want somebody who wants to come in and play. We know that when you pick a top-5 pick, you expect those guys to play for 10 years and be a Pro-Bowler for a couple of years. That’s what we expect out of this pick, and hopefully we can get a guy that can be an impact player.”