The Broncos are sniffing around a couple of the late-round prospects at the quarterback position. Zac Dysert out of Miami was in for a visit and Matt Scott out of Arizona is also scheduled for an appointment (via Denver Post). One visit might not indicate anything, but two visits is the start of a trend. Whether it's Dysert, Scott or someone else, the Broncos could be considering adding another quarterback in the draft.
If the Broncos were confident in Brock Osweiler’s ability to take over for an injured Peyton Manning and take the reins in a couple years, why bring in a young quarterback? A third quarterback is a waste of roster space, and no teams are rushing to sign a guy like Caleb Hanie, who was released prior to the start of free agency.
Guys like Dysert and Scott will be drafted, so it’s not like the Broncos are stretching out Collin Klein or Dayne Crist. Depending on the projection, Dysert and Scott will go between rounds three and five. The fact that the Broncos have this level of interest in mid-round quarterbacks has to be a little concerning since the team used a second-round pick on Osweiler last year.
As long as Manning is under center, none of this matters. However, if Manning were to get hurt, the Broncos could still be competitive with a below-average NFL quarterback. That could be Osweiler or a veteran, but the Broncos are opening up the possibility that it could be someone else.
Since we don’t know the motives behind the visits, the speculation can end with a little extra concern about Osweiler’s development. Maybe the concern is minor, but it’s there just as it was when he was drafted. Each NFL team is allowed just 30 non-local prospects at their facility and teams don’t do things without a plan.
If the Broncos have some concern about Osweiler now, it makes sense to go looking for an alternative. The last thing the Broncos should do is put everything on a player if they have doubts about him. Drafting a mid-round quarterback might not reflect favorably on Osweiler, but it makes the Broncos look very smart.
Denver doesn't have a lot of needs, so it makes sense to add a player for the future that can realistically be kept on the roster. That is, if the Broncos were planning to keep a third quarterback on the roster in 2013.
Despite what their actions may or may not indicate, the Broncos are publicly quite high on Osweiler. John Elway told Bill Williamson of ESPN that Osweiler would be the best quarterback in the 2013 rookie class.
“From what I’ve seen from this class and what I’ve seen from Brock in the past year, I’d put him first,” Elway said. “Would he be a top-10 pick? I’m not sure, but he’d definitely be a first-round pick.
“I really like what I’ve seen from him.”
By most accounts, Osweiler has improved, but sometimes actions speak louder than words. Even Osweiler’s biggest supporters have to acknowledge that he didn’t have a lot of experience in college and he’s a total unknown in the NFL. It’s a situation that will come under the microscope if Manning ever gets hurt down the line.
If Osweiler never amounted to anything, he wouldn’t be the first second-round quarterback with the ideal developmental situation not to make it in the NFL. Brian Brohm was drafted with the 56th overall pick (Osweiler was 57th) in 2008 to back up Aaron Rodgers, and he was beaten out by Matt Flynn before being waived the following year.
For now, this is just offseason fodder. Maybe in a few years we'll try to remember that time when there were doubts about Osweiler. It should be noted that there have been concerns about a handful of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, so Osweiler isn’t necessarily in bad company. It’s still a situation that bears watching and is given some credence if the Broncos select a quarterback in the upcoming draft.