EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 15: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Michigan State Spartans drops back to pass in the first qarter of the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Spartan Stadium on October 15, 2011 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State defeated Michigan 28-14. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, the Broncos will be bringing in quarterbacks Ryan Lindley of San Diego State and Kirk Cousins of Michigan State to visit team facilities sometime this week.
Lindley and Cousins are the second and third quarterbacks who are being associated with the Broncos via workouts or pre-draft visits, but that bit of information should be taken with a grain of salt since last year, the team had pre-draft visits with a number of different quarterbacks but didn't select any at all.
This year may be different, however, since last year the Broncos had under contract all of Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, and Brady Quinn. There was really no room on the roster for any prospect that had better upside than any of those guys, but this year, the Broncos' only backup to 36-year old Peyton Manning is Caleb Hanie, who has played decent in spots but is, for the most part, a pretty below average quarterback.
The Broncos don't really have a quarterback of the 'down the road' future right now, they just have a quarterback for the immediate future, and could be looking for a successor to develop over the next three or four years.
With Lindley and Cousins heading to town, my inkling that the Broncos are going to find a way to take a quarterback before the fourth round, though none of the signal callers they have brought in have higher than fourth round grades from me.
I currently have Brock Osweiler ranked as the 105th prospect in the draft, which would put his value for us as a third round pick. I don't think the Broncos would be able to get him in the fourth, probably not even the third with the premium being placed on the position. If they want him, they'll likely have to trade up in the third or take him in the second round, something I really wouldn't be on board since we have a good amount of needs right now.
Cousins is 116th on my board, which would put him in range for our fourth round pick, but again, his value is on the rise mostly because of the position he plays. I think we'd also have to use a third round pick on him, but some people project him as a second round pick. I'm not so sure about that, but Cousins came up big in big spots for the Spartans. Here is my pre-season report on Cousins, who is a great leader and a winner, someone you would love to have on your team:
Cousins is one of the most decorated quarterbacks in Michigan State history, and is one of the top senior signal callers in the entire country. Cousins was a third team All Big 10 selection by Phil Steele in 2010, academic All Big 10 for the third straight year, and showed that he is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country. The fourth year junior completed just under 67 percent of his passes for 2,825 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions (three came in Iowa game). Michigan State is a run oriented offense, but Cousins definitely makes the most of every throw. Had a dominant performance (22-of-29) in the MSU Spring game where he threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, and could be poised for a big season in 2011. Cousins is an accurate quarterback who will have a long NFL career because he is smart and makes great decisions. Not a mobile quarterback by any means, but is a guy who can get outside the pocket and make plays. Gets rid of the ball quickly and excels in play-action. Some people might call him a game manager, but field general is probably more appropriate. Will occasionally throw the ball into traffic when under pressure instead of getting rid of it. Sometimes tries to do too much, and ends up making risky throws or poor overthrows.
Ryan Lindley has some nice tools, like size and arm strength, but he was wildly inaccurate and his completion percentage never really got substantially better. I have him ranked 329th overall, which would be an undrafted free agent grade. If the Broncos took him before their sixth round pick, it'd be a major reach in my opinion, and obviously I don't think they should use a pick on him at all.
Like I said, he has some nice tools, and if they have to draft a QB, they could get worse guys in the sixth round, but the talk of Lindley being a fourth round pick is just ridiculous to me. Here is my report on Lindley:
Lindley has a nice, quick release, looks like he has nice footwork, and he throws a catchable ball. He puts nice zip on his throws, and can make the tough passes like quick outs, mid-outs. Sometimes his arm strength can be a negative for him, as he tends to make some overthrows and his accuracy numbers are reflective of that. He has not completed more than 57.7 percent of his passes in a single season and had 45 interceptions as of 11/19/11. Doesn’t make great decisions under pressure, and has a lot of developing to do in terms of pocket passing. Not a great athlete, but has excellent size at 6’4″ 230 pounds. Delivery slightly resembles that of Philip Rivers, as he releases the ball from about his ear, and sometimes that will lead to bad trajectory on the ball or defensive linemen able to knock it down at the LOS.
PROS: Size, arm strength, footwork, quick release, able to make all the throws
CONS: Accuracy, decision making under pressure, interceptions, athletic ability (not going to get positive yards scrambling)
In a way, Lindley reminds me of a less polished version of Nick Foles, whom I also have a very low grade on. These are some interesting visits for the Broncos, which could mean absolutely nothing or could indicate serious interest. Regardless whether it's one of these guys or someone else, I think the Broncos will try to add a quarterback in this draft, but I fear the cost will be a little too high for any decent prospect from this class, which is extremely weak after the top two players in the draft.