Sean Payton says it's 'realistic' for Broncos to trade up from No. 12 pick to draft QB

Sean Payton is beginning his second year as Denver Broncos head coach, and at the AFC coaches breakfast on Monday, he gave everyone a preview of what to expect from the Broncos over the next month as the 2024 NFL Draft approaches: movement.

When NFL Network's Ian Rapoport asked Payton how realistic it was for the Broncos to be a trade-up team, Payton gave an answer that sent the hearts of Broncos fans aflutter.

"Realistic," Payton said.

The Broncos are currently sitting at No. 12 in the draft order, which would be just fine if they already had a starting quarterback lined up. But just two years after trading for Russell Wilson, Denver decided to move on and release him. As it stands, the quarterback competition at training camp will be between Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci, the only QBs currently on Denver's roster.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 07: Head Coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos during warm up against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 27-14. (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)
Broncos head coach Sean Payton said at the AFC coaches breakfast that Denver trading up in the draft is "realistic." (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)

Unless one of those guys suddenly decides to turn into Tom Brady 2.0, neither of them are likely capable of leading the Broncos to the promised land. So with the initial free agent rush over, Payton indicated that the Broncos are looking at the draft as a way to fix their quarterback problem. And since a No. 12 pick might not net the Broncos the caliber of quarterback they want, trading up could be the only way to go.

Payton even gave a clue regarding which pick the Broncos could be zeroing in on.

"It's good to be Monti right now," Payton said, referring to Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort. The Cardinals have the fourth pick in the draft, and with Kyler Murray locked in as their long-term quarterback, they could be game to trade down for an abundance of picks.

That would cost the Broncos a lot of future draft selections, likely akin to what the San Francisco 49ers spent to trade up to No. 3 in 2021: three first-round draft picks and a third-round draft pick. But if Denver believes they can draft a franchise quarterback to steady their increasingly wobbly team, it could be worth the cost.