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Give quarterback Baker Mayfield the Heisman, but please don’t give him to the Broncos

As the big man on campus, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has thrown 41 touchdown passes, been tackled by police, grabbed his crotch to taunt a hapless foe and collected the Heisman Trophy in 2017.

Not a bad year.

But he’s definitely not the Broncos’ quarterback of the future.

The Heisman Trophy has feet of clay.

Let’s start with this statistic. Since 2000, Mayfield is the 15th quarterback to win the Heisman.

Number of those Heisman-winning quarterbacks that have won the Super Bowl?

Zero. Zip. Nada.

With apologies to Tim Tebow, Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel, winning the Heisman doesn’t mean squat in the NFL.

In their dreams, fans of Mayfield see a combination of Drew Brees and Russell Wilson. About the only thing Mayfield has in common with Brees and Wilson is he’s short, listed at 6-foot-1 on the Oklahoma roster.

Mayfield plays football with the attitude of a small dog. He’s very yappy, combative and anxious to mark his turf (see: planting the flag at Ohio State). From physical build to emotional makeup, Mayfield is the antithesis of Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch, quarterbacks that caused John Elway to fall in love during recent NFL drafts, only to break hearts throughout Broncos Country.

It remains to be seen where the Broncos are slotted in the draft, depending on how low the free fall led by rookie coach Vance Joseph can go. Denver, however, seems likely to pick no worse than No. 10 in the opening round, and perhaps as high as No. 3, if the team loses its final four games to finish 3-13.

With a pick in the top third of the first round, the Broncos could obtain a real building block on the offensive line, which would make Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey a more appealing player than the Heisman winner. And if Denver lands in the top five slots of the draft, then quarterback Sam Darnold from Southern California makes far more sense than Mayfield.

Mayfield is a feisty underdog, and his quick release is a thing of beauty, so I get the appeal. Maybe he proves doubters like me wrong, the way Dak Prescott has done in Dallas. But his best throws from Oklahoma’s spread offense have often been to wide-open receivers down the seam, finding gaping holes in the shoddy defenses of the Big 12 Conference.

Here’s the question that both Elway and Denver fans must ask: Is Broncos Country ready to commit to a full rebuilding program, which might not make the team truly playoff competitive again until 2020, when linebacker Von Miller will be 31 years old?

That’s why it makes sense for Elway to explore every possibility in free agency when looking for the team’s next starting quarterback. While Kirk Cousins of Washington and Eli Manning of the New York Giants are the sexy names that might hit the market, here’s one to consider: Alex Smith.

During his five years in Kansas City, Smith’s record is 47-26. He has won 64 percent of his starts for the Chiefs. During his career for the Broncos, Elway won 64 percent of his starts.

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