Clayton: Elway may go for a QB early

John Clayton made an intriguing call in his mailbag on ESPN.com.

He is getting the feeling that new Denver Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway might draft a quarterback early in the draft and begin to move away from Tim Tebow.

This is part of what Clayton wrote:

I'm starting to think Elway might take a QB in the second round and call the Tebow selection a mistake. That interest creates tantalizing possibilities on draft day and thereafter. Thinking that Cam Newton can go No. 1 to Carolina, the Broncos could entice a team such as Tennessee to trade up to the No. 2 spot to get Blaine Gabbert. The Broncos could then take a quarterback in the second round and eventually trade [Kyle] Orton for a second-round pick in 2012.

The Broncos are looking at all of the top quarterbacks. Among the quarterbacks they could look at in the second round include Washington’s Jake Locker, Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, Florida State’s Christian Ponder, Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick and TCU’s Andy Dalton.

Elway said last week that the team’s interest in quarterbacks is not a smokescreen. I don’t think it is. The Broncos are spending too much time on quarterbacks simply in the name of espionage. Plus, what’s the point of trying to fool other teams when it comes to second-round prospects?

If Denver does take a quarterback in the second round, it would certainly be a major indictment on Tebow’s future in Denver. I’d still be surprised if Tebow doesn’t get a chance to prove he can be the guy in Denver. It’s within Elway’s right to make that call now.

He inherited Tebow. If Elway wants to call Tebow’s selection at No. 25 a mistake by former coach Josh McDaniels and move on, that’s reasonable. Elway is the boss. It’s his call.

If Denver does take a quarterback in the second round, it would be the story of the second night of the draft and could be the beginning of the end of the three-game Tebow era in Denver.