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John Elway may take a quarterback, won’t decide until draft day

John Elway is open to selecting a quarterback with the fifth pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, which is exactly what the Denver Broncos need.

Broncos G.M. John Elway says signing Case Keenum in free agency won’t preclude using the fifth overall pick in the draft on a quarterback.

“That’ll be wide open,” Elway told Adam Schefter. “I’m betting we won’t know what direction we’re going to go until probably the day of [the first round] or the day before.”

That phrasing suggests Elway has a quarterback he likes among the top choices -- Wyoming’s Josh Allen, USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen or Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield -- but that he isn’t counting on the quarterback he likes being available with the fifth overall pick.

Keenum got $25 million guaranteed on a two-year contract and will almost certainly be the Week One starter, but the Broncos could draft a quarterback they expect to take over for Keenum by 2019 or 2020 at the latest. Still, given that the Broncos have a defense they think they can win with now, it would seem to make more sense to use the fifth overall pick to draft a player who can contribute to a turnaround this season, rather than a player who will spend this season holding a clipboard.