Head coach Sean Payton and the Denver Broncos are currently in the midst of what figures to be a highly important offseason for the future direction of the franchise following their disastrous 2023-24 campaign, which was Payton's first foray into head coaching since departing the New Orleans Saints. Despite expectations being through the roof, Payton was never quite able to get on the same page with quarterback Russell Wilson, who is now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Broncos ultimately were never able to overcome an (extremely) slow opening act to the season, missing out on a chance to compete in the NFL playoffs.

With Wilson now out of the equation, it figures that the Broncos will be on the lookout for a quarterback when the 2024 NFL Draft gets underway on Thursday evening. The Broncos currently hold the number 12 overall pick in a draft class that sure seems to be loaded with potential stars at that position, and recently Payton himself broke down the importance of the quarterback as it pertains to the future of the Broncos organization.

“Look, do we have to draft a quarterback? You'd say, ‘Man, it sure looks like we have to draft a quarterback.’ And yet, it’s gotta be the right fit and the right one,” said Payton, per Andrew Mason of Denver Sports on X, the social media platform formerly referred to as Twitter. “If we had the tip sheets as to who everyone else was taking, it'd be easier to answer that question. So that's the puzzle here.”

Broncos general manager George Paton also chimed in on the question.

“What you don't want to do… is force it,” said Paton. “Otherwise, we'll be in this position next year and the years after, so you want to get the right player at 12. Our first pick, we've got to hit on. Whether it's a quarterback, whether it's a tackle, receiver, you name it, we need to get an impact player.”

Hitting on draft picks and selecting impact players is indeed quite literally the job description for NFL general managers, as Paton pointed out.

What will the Broncos do?

As previously mentioned, this upcoming 2024 NFL Draft class projects to be loaded with talent at the quarterback position. Former Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams is widely expected to be the number one overall pick out of USC, but there are other intriguing options that still could be available for the Broncos at the number 12 slot, including Michael Penix Jr.–who just finished leading Washington Football all the way to the National Championship Game–or Penix's opponent in that game, JJ McCarthy of Michigan, whose recent rise up draft boards has been a bit hard to explain, to say the least, but is now apparently considered a first round talent.

In any case, Payton and the rest of the Broncos staff will have their hands full in trying to get the franchise their first productive quarterback in quite some time when they make their selection on Thursday evening.