NFL Draft Football

Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II holds a team jersey after he was chosen by the Broncos with the ninth pick in the NFL draft Thursday in Cleveland.

No Justin or Strawberry Fields Forever. No Mr. Rodgers. No dancing in the streets of Denver over a new QB hero.

The Broncos got a cornerback.

The Broncos did not get a quarterback.

Gotcha, Colorado! Ho. Hum. The Broncos still have the most ambiguous quarterback predicament in the AFC West.

Patrick Surtain II was a good get as the second defensive player selected in the NFL draft’s first round Thursday night. Patrick was not, to the multitudes of Broncos backers, the most prominent, pronounced, promising, popular, phantastic Paton pick.

There was no roar reverberating in the Rocky Mountains.

Particularly because the Broncos couldn’t or didn’t draft Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields and even Mac Jones or, get this, trade for Aaron Rodgers.

GM George Paton surely didn’t gain immediate election to the Broncos’ Ring of Fame Thursday night.

The Broncos still are without a John Elway or a Peyton Manning, two of the greatest draft picks and quarterbacks in NFL history.

Instead, they now possess four quarterbacks whose combined salary cap total is $10.5 million and whose cumulative starting record is 36-41, with one postseason game.

Same old, same new.

Justin Fields was right there at 9.

The Broncos passed.

“You were the guy we wanted all along,’’ Paton told Surtain in their congratulatory phone call. Vic Fangio said moments later to the son of a former NFL cornerback: “We got the best cornerback in the draft. It went our way.’’

We’ll know in a couple or four or eight years if the Broncos haven’t made another monumental mistake, as they did when they could have chosen Josh Allen.

This from a franchise that has picked in the first round Tommy Maddox, Jay Cutler, Tim Tebow and Paxton Lynch — none of whom turned out to be long-term and successful solutions. For two-thirds of the franchise’s existence, the Broncos have been a quarterback version of Chernobyl.

Paton guaranteed the Broncos will have competition at quarterback. Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater will compete with Brett Rypien — and Jake Driskel will be the disappearing man. If you have three quarterbacks, you have none. The Chiefs, the Chargers and the Raiders have no competition. They have quality quarterbacks.

In a 2021 schedule that will be released May 12 the Broncos will play Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and David Carr in six games, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson (one-two in this draft),

Dak Prescott, Ben Roethlisberger, Baker Mayfield, Jared Goff, Daniel Jones and Ryan Fitzpatrick. There are no Hostess Cupcakes.

As Thursday developed after a full moon the night before, the sun seemed to shine on the Broncos. There was speculation that Lance or Fields could be available to the Broncos, or that Paton might climb to fifth, sixth or seventh to select one of the two.

Then, it was reported that Rodgers wanted out of Green Bay, and his three favorable options were the 49ers, the Broncos and the Raiders. Next, the rumors were that the Packers turned down an offer from the 49ers. Finally, buzz was that the Broncos were negotiating with the Pack on a deal, and were very close.

It was all buzzkill.

My sources told me that the Packers had no intention of trading or even talking to any teams, and the Broncos hadn’t discussed the matter with the Packers and hadn’t deliberated moving up in the round. The Broncos were listening to proposals to move down in the round.

When San Francisco grabbed Lance and Atlanta, and Cincinnati and Miami went after catchers of the football, there was belief and bellowing in Colorado that the Broncos could end up with Fields or Rodgers, and somebody must be preparing for a parade downtown for the Broncos and an awards dinner for Paton.

Especially after the Lions and the Panthers didn’t bite on Fields and Mac Jones. The Panthers grabbed a cornerback — Jaycee Horn.

Everyone was waiting for the inevitable word — Fields.

Instead, commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the Broncos had selected a cornerback — the sixth man in the room at Dove Valley now after the signing of two free agents.

Certain Surtain.

You could hear jaws drop throughout Colorado.

Soon the Bears chose Fields at No. 11, and guess who picked Jones at 15? Yes, the Patriots.

Get this: For the 57th time, the Broncos didn’t draft a quarterback in the first round.

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