Kiszla: Deshaun Watson is the one NFL quarterback that could change everything in Broncos Country – The Denver Post

The next Broncos quarterback?

Well, it’s not Drew Lock, who can crank up the Young Jeezy and dance right out of town.

The next Broncos quarterback?

Bring me Deshaun Watson. Or bust. No Plan B.

You with me, John Elway?

Is prying one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL from Houston a long shot? Of course it is.

But if Elway hasn’t already retired in his mind to a boat on Lake Coeur d’Alene, he will do everything in his power to return the Broncos to relevancy in the championship discussion by making the blockbuster trade of 2021.

The Broncos need to chase Watson in every waking hour between now and the NFL draft. Yes, it’s a long shot. But what does a Denver franchise that has forgotten how to win have to lose?

Conduct a mock draft of all the league’s established quarterbacks, and we all know Patrick Mahomes is going No. 1. We all also know the Broncos won’t have more than a puncher’s chance to knock the Chiefs from atop the AFC West unless they have a quarterback capable of producing more than the pathetic 11.7 points per game Lock has scored in three starts against his hometown team.

While I love me some Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, the second-best quarterback in the league is Watson, who’s tougher than a rattler’s skin and more dangerous than snake venom. In 2020, Rodgers has been MVP-worthy, with 48 touchdown passes, while being sacked 20 times. Watson threw 33 TD passes against only seven interceptions, despite getting up and dusting himself off after 49 sacks.

OK, would chasing a trade for Watson amount to nothing more than tilting at a windmill? Quite possibly. Let’s start with the most obvious hindrance to my dream of Watson wearing orange and blue: Houston does not want to trade Watson, and has taken great pains to make that abundantly clear.

What’s not so clear is if Watson wants any part of playing for a franchise that has used and abused him, undercutting his ability to win with shaky franchise leadership and getting him sacked an outrageous 155 times in three full seasons as a starting QB.

The Texans might be one of the few NFL teams that has bungled its business worse than Denver in recent years, wasting talent that has included J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins and Arian Foster. Deep in the heart, the “T” on the Texans’ belt buckle stands for thick-headed.

To engage Houston in so much as preliminary discussions regarding Watson would require skill and tact. So where to begin? With the hiring of a general manager in Denver.

A long list of candidates for the job has been circulated during the speculation that’s inevitable when there’s a coveted NFL vacancy. Go ahead, pick your favorite. Mine is Rick Smith, whose ties to the Broncos date back to the Super Bowl glory years in the 1990s. As a front-office executive with the Texans from 2006-17, he knows the territory where Watson now toils.

Yes, it would require a king’s ransom to obtain Watson. But anything can be bought and sold in America. What might the Texans even consider, should Watson make it known he wants out? Three first-round draft picks? Their choice of any two players on the Denver roster? I don’t care. Make ’em an offer they cannot refuse.

For the umpteenth time, can we agree that it’s all about the quarterback in the NFL?

The Broncos know their experiment of combining of championship D and QB in training has run its course. As hinted by the lukewarm praise coach Vic Fangio gave Lock at the conclusion of this disappointing 5-11 season, the team has already engaged in the serious conversations about the possibility of moving on from Lock after two seasons.

In a strong draft class of quarterbacks, it makes sense for the the Broncos to conduct their due diligence on every prospect. Maybe Zach Wilson of Brigham Young is the answer. But know what’s not the answer? The pursuit of NFL veterans named Matthew Stafford or Carson Wentz. Stafford is not a winner. Wentz is a salvage project whose success seems iffy, at best.

The one quarterback who could change everything in Broncos Country during 2021?

It’s Watson.

I do not know if Watson will push hard to get out of Houston. The Broncos, however, need to start laying the groundwork to be at the front of the line if the relationship between Watson and the Texans hits the rock-bottom rubble of irreconcilable differences.

Go ahead, tell me it’s impossible for Watson be Denver’s starting quarterback in 2021. I don’t care about the odds.

There’s no Plan B, remember?

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