Owning the final pick in the first round is one of the greatest honors in football. Simply put, it means you’re the best. And right now, the Broncos are the best.

Unfortunately, that honor doesn’t normally come to those who are in dire need of a quarterback — most Super Bowl champions have that well taken care of. So in this scenario, the Broncos probably wish they were a good 10, 20, 30 picks higher in the draft.

Despite what Peter King says, though, that’s not likely to happen. And if it did, it’d cost the Broncos an arm and a leg and a torso and a soul, and that’s on the cheap end of things.

What the Broncos need is for someone to fall in their lap, and I’m not just talking about quarterbacks. Even if Denver doesn’t get their signal caller of the future, they better hope they can get a heck of a player to make up for his absence.

In no particular order, here are five prospects the Denver Broncos should be hoping and praying fall to pick No. 31.

LB Jaylon Smith (Bonus)


CAREER NUMBERS: 284 total tackles; 23.5 tackles for a loss; 4.5 sacks; 10 passes defensed; 3 forced fumbles

Here’s the deal: Jaylon Smith may be the biggest risk/reward pick in NFL history. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not.

This is a guy who has Hall of Fame talent. This is a guy who is viewed by many as the most talented on-field football player in the class, and it’s not even that close. This is a guy who should have been selected within the first three picks of the draft, no questions asked.

This is also a guy who may have suffered a career-ending injury during Notre Dame’s bowl game.

The Broncos aren’t going to select Smith in the first round — no one is — but if they can grab him in the third, even the second, it’s worth it. He’s not playing this season, and there’s a chance he doesn’t play the next, but Denver is in a position where they can redshirt their second- or third-round pick.

If he ever rebounds to 90 percent of the player he used to be, the Broncos could walk away with one of the greatest draft-day steals in a long time.