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(Graphic by K.J. Rigli/Bonneville Denver)
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Mile High Monday: A top-five pick, passing on Josh Allen and more

(Graphic by K.J. Rigli/Bonneville Denver)

The Broncos played perhaps their worst game of the year on Sunday, falling to the Bills by a score of 20-3 in Week 12 at Buffalo. Their defense was run all over and their offense could not move the ball with effectiveness or efficiency.

Things seem to be falling apart with the current construct of this roster. Injuries, bad free-agent additions, bad draft picks and just plain old bad luck have put this Broncos team in no better shape than they were under the last coaching staff.

I like thinking about the future of this team. The main reason is because the present for the Broncos is pretty rough and I’m hoping for better days in 2020 and beyond.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ – even if it’s a little cold! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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Top-Five Twist

If the draft were to be today, the Broncos would have a top-five pick. That may change as we have more than a few weeks left of the regular season, but with a 3-8 record, a lot of fans are turning their attention to the 2020 NFL Draft. This is a great draft class at three different positions – offensive tackle, wide receiver and quarterback.

The good news for the Broncos is that they have a big need at each one of those positions. The talent of this class lines up with some of the Broncos biggest needs. However, that is not the way they may go with their premium first-round pick.

There is some early buzz that the Broncos would go with a twist in the first round and select Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah.

Taking a cornerback is a direction that many fans will not want them to go. Most Broncos fans I talk to in person or on social media want nothing more than an upgrade at the left tackle position, while others want them to find a true franchise quarterback.

Going with a tall, physical corner like Okudah would mean the team is likely moving on from veteran corner Chris Harris Jr. I like the idea of trying to keep Harris around with a contract that makes him a “Bronco for Life,” but that is more wishful thinking than it is reality. The draft is after free agency, so we should have clarity on which direction the Broncos go in the first round at some point in mid-March.

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Passer’s Remorse?

I couldn’t help but think about what might have been all last week as the team prepared to face the Bills. Josh Allen is their starting quarterback and he was a player the Broncos spent a lot of time scouting before the 2018 NFL Draft.

Instead of taking Allen with the No. 5 overall pick, the Broncos chose to go in a different direction and chose linebacker Bradley Chubb instead. Chubb is a fine player and has the makings of a superstar pass-rusher in this league, but Allen is showing signs of being a real franchise quarterback.

DMac, Johnny Hart and I went to Laramie for Allen’s pro day before the 2018 NFL Draft. We had more people from The Fan at Allen’s pro day than the Broncos did, as only Gary Kubiak and one other scout were in attendance. Allen put on a great pro day, showing off his big arm, athleticism and touch throwing downfield. His performance wasn’t enough to sway the Broncos, even though they coached him at the Senior Bowl that year and even went to a bowl game to scout him in person.

I wonder what it would have been like in year two of Allen starting for the Broncos. He is far from a finished product, but Allen has shown improvement in his game. Last year as a rookie, Allen was mostly a one-read guy who would take off to run at the first sign of trouble. This year, as we saw on Sunday against the Broncos, Allen will stay with his reads and can run as a last resort. The Bills do a good job of designing running plays for Allen, and he’s seriously underrated as a scrambling quarterback.

The sky is the limit for Allen and Bills fans are over the moon they have a young quarterback who has led them to eight wins so far this year. Meanwhile, the Broncos still don’t have a solid quarterback situation. Joe Flacco bombed as the starter, Brandon Allen has not been good and Drew Lock has yet to play. More on that in the next section!

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No More Excuses

It’s past time to see Drew Lock as the starting quarterback for the Broncos. I’ve been quick to let Brandon Allen have his moment, even though there was a large portion of the fan base who wanted Lock in immediately after he began practicing again in an effort to be activated from the Injured Reserve list. That support for Allen, and patience for Lock, came to an end on Sunday.

Allen played bad football against the Bills and didn’t even pass for 100 yards in Week 12. He’s done what he can as the starter and it is clear that Allen is nothing more than a spot starter or decent backup quarterback. Lock has a higher level of physical talent and I want to see him as the starter on Sunday against the Chargers.

We should find out Monday whether or not the Broncos plan to activate Lock. Fangio is going to have his press conference around noon and I hope he just says that Lock is going to be active and the team will see how he does during the week of practice. In fact, I would love it if Fangio just came out and said that Lock was their starter and they were going to give him a five-game audition to see whether or not he could be the quarterback of the future.

There is little chance I get my full wish. However, it is the best move for the Broncos to get Lock in there as the starter this week.

***

Who Watches The Watchmen?

I was excited when the news came out about HBO doing a series on the 1980s graphic novel “The Watchmen.” Simply put, The Watchmen is one of the greatest comic books stories ever told. Writer Alan Moore basically deconstructed the superhero genre in “The Watchmen,” and his story was one of the most gritty and realistic stories of what life would be like if superheroes existed in our reality.

After the first episode of “The Watchmen,” I was incredibly disappointed. I’m not going to spoil the series here, but there were things about this universe that didn’t make sense based on where we left these characters 30 years ago in the timeline. The second episode wasn’t much better and I considered taking it off of my schedule of recorded shows on my DVR.

I’m glad I gave the series another chance because the third and fourth episodes of “The Watchmen” were absolutely fantastic. I now find myself carving out time to watch the show live on Sunday nights – even if that means I miss a bit of “Sunday Night Football.” Yes, blasphemy I know, but I watch every game twice each week anyway and my Sunday nights are usually late ones as I stay up to write and to further study football.

So, who out there watches this show? Do you like the direction of the series so far? Did you read the comic books (even the new Doomsday Clock comics)? Hit me up on social media to let me know if you’re a big nerd like me!