Peyton Manning is the answer in 2014, but what about 2015? 2016? The MHR Staff sits in their respective GM armchairs and debates.
Kyle: Well gents, we all know who's starting for the Broncos in 2014. Hopefully he's around in 2015 and 2016 too (the rest of his contract), but there are no guarantees. Are you happy with Brock Osweiler as a backup quarterback now and potential starter in 2015? If not, do you go to free agency or the draft this year?
Pete: Kyle, that's the wrong question to ask my friend. The real question isn't "are we happy with Brock as a backup", it's "are we happy with Brock being Manning's replacement?"
My answer to that is a resounding "no!"
This is more a philosophy question than talent evaluating question because we simply haven't seen enough if the Big O *giggle* and Dysert to make our minds up. The fundamental philosophy I hope Elway is using is this, "you draft a QB every year until you are certain you have your HOF franchise guy because if you don't and instead wait to draft a QB the moment you find out you DON'T have that QB, it's too late."
That is why I implore Elway to keep drafting QBs each and every year until he finds one that makes him ok with the pending Manning retirement.
Topher: I am not a big Osweiler fan, but that's purely based off his skill set since we haven't really seen much of him. I do think the Broncos will either draft another QB this year or add a young project QB free agent to continue to compete with Oz as well Zac Dysert. The fact Elway is also a big Dysert fan also shows he's not 100% sold on Oz. Now that doesn't mean Oz isn't the backup for 2014, he likely is, he's the more polished QB of the two backups but I'd like to see the Broncos add another quarterback to the roster this off-season for competition and then keep the best of the three on the roster.
Having said that, I have no idea what the offense will look like post-Peyton. With Welker, Peyton, Moreno, Decker and coach Gase gone, the likelyhood of running this system is almost none and without knowing who the offensive coordinator is, it's hard to say what type of QB Elway will want. There are some strong QB's in the mid-rounds in this draft that could QB teams in the playoffs, McCarron is an example of that type of QB, in the right system he could have success, the question is whether Elway is thinking that far ahead and does he have an idea of what he wants the offense to be once Peyton leaves. Since we can't answer that, it's hard for me to comment on what QB to draft, since system is so important for young QB's to succeed.
Tim: I am not a believer in Brock. My Plan B would be Brett Smith, but we all know John Elway doesn't believe in having a Plan B.
Kyle: See, that's why this is why it's called Be the Broncos GM. John Elway is out of the picture. Brett Smith is the first player Ian scouted in his draft piece. I would surmise you two have an appreciation for Smith in common.
Tim: Yeah, Ian had me at "He is Tim Tebow with an arm."
Ian: I never though that it would be possible that a guy like Smith could end up a Broncos player until, the week prior to the Super Bowl, I rewatched the 1986, '87 and '89 versions. I had never drawn any type of connection from Wyoming's QB to the Broncos until I saw John Elway running for his life through three straight Super Bowls trying desperately to make something happen and it hit me. That's Brett Smith...
I think that they either have to draft a player or grab a CFA. Unless for whatever reason Josh McCown just really wants to play in Denver, which I don't think is very likely. You'll hear, read and write things about letting a guy develop, but that really isn't an option anymore. There are heck of a lot more Kevin Kolbs, Matt Cassels and Matt Flynns (read: guys given an opportunity to learn and then play and subsequently be not very good) than there are Aaron Rodgers and Colin Kaepernicks in this world.
Brock Osweiler may very well be the quarterback of the future in Denver, but there is no reason to not light a fire under his feet now and push him in training camp and practice until it is time to put up or shut up. Smith plays the type of football that has been trending in the league the last few seasons. As South Park might say, if your quarterback isn't a threat to break a run for fifty-yards, you're going to have a bad time.
Pete: So Ian, what you're saying is he's "Tebow with an arm?" I like the sound of that.
Ian: Check the tape. There are two videos there; the first one was literally him vs. Nebraska (Wyoming was able to block a little bit that game), but then check out the game vs. Boise State. You nearly have a heart attack watching this guy running around so desperately trying to make plays. He has pressure as soon as he got the snap, there was just no stopping this onslaught of defensive linemen and outside linebackers. At worst Smith can avoid the sack.
Christopher: The Broncos do not have the luxury of using any draft selection on a quarterback. Resources in that respect and free agency should be allocated towards bigger needs. Manning, Osweiler and Dysert were all on the 53 man roster last season and are a fine trio. Perhaps there will be a candidate out of the UDFA pool, but I see no reason for Denver to pursue another signal caller.
Ian: I've heard that theory as well that it the team has too many needs. Then I look at running back and they're full, receiver is a need, tight end is full, offensive line is full, defensive end is a need, defensive tackle is full, linebacker is a need, corner is a need, safety is a need.
In reality they likely aren't drafting for need at 31 anyway. It's best player available all day.
Sure, in the Super Bowl it looked like there were needs, but five starters missing on an eleven man starting squad will make it look like there are gaps.
Where the team has been so smart is drafting ahead. Montee Ball for Knowshon Moreno, Danny Trevathan and Nate Irving at linebacker, Malik Jackson, Quanterus Smith, Derek Wolfe all rotational guys for the same positions.
Pete: All of that is semi-pointless anyways seeing the glaring holes will be filled via free agency so that we can draft the best players available that we think will be impactful upgrades. Besides, once you get past the first 3-4 rounds of the draft, you should consider yourself very lucky to hit on an impact player or starter. So why not consider a 4th (arguable), 5th, 6th, or 7th round pick as a "screw it, lets take a flyer on this player (name the position)?" And if you're doing that, you should do it for a QB too. There is nothing I'd like to see more than what happened in Seattle 2 years ago; Have the rookie guy supplant the starter in training camp. Now, that won't happen because Peyton Manning simply can't get supplanted by any QB in NFL history, but you know what I mean. Maybe that rookie comes in and makes Dysert look like road kill and Oz look like a fish out of water. My point is that you can never draft too many QBs. You simply can't. You keep drafting them until you know 100% that you have the "next big thing."
Kyle: I'm loving this roundtable. Pete, you've helped complete my thought process, and I've come to a strong conclusion where earlier I was unclear. And I disagree with you.
While I like the "you can never draft too many QBs" mentality, I don't believe that's true this year. I don't believe that's true while you have Peyton Manning a starter and someone already pegged as a backup.
So if I'm the Broncos GM, I do not draft a QB this year.
Here's why. If you're John Elway, how will you know you have the "next best thing" until one of these backups even see the field? Think about it. How would you know whether your rookie was significantly better than Brock Osweiler until they were getting snaps in training camp with the starting team, starting snaps in the preseason? How could what happened in Seattle two years ago possibly happen in Denver when Brock Osweiler and Rookie Quarterback X are fighting for Manning's scraps with the second teamers? It can't. It simply can't. The Broncos have Peyton Manning! As long as he's eating up the valuable first team reps, nothing conclusive will come of drafting backups who compete with one another. As long as Brock is progressing and showing signs - and I believe he is - there is no way any quarterback is going to amaze you in practice in such a way that it will make you question Osweiler's status as the primary backup.
The more prudent approach is to keep Oz as the backup, keep investing practice time with him, and hope to reap the rewards of the efforts you have already invested. Address other positions with draft picks in the meantime - find another late-round gem like Elvis Dumervil or Julius Thomas. Then, when Manning retires, and Brock presumably ascends, draft your early round quarterback. And may the best man win. When there are starting reps to be had, that's when the practice snaps and preseason snaps will matter.
Pete: I think what you're missing is that there are people who visit this very site that think Dysert is better than Brock. Hell, it's said that Dysert is Elway's "guy". I thought Brock was his guy? Now Dysert is? That level of uncertainty clearly indicates that Elway doesn't know what he has out of anyone not named Manning. You know the old saying, when you have two QBs, you have none!
We know that Manning is Manning, but after that, there is just too many question marks. If the front office doesn't even know what piece of scrap metal is the shinier piece, then scrap the entire pile and find a new hunk of metal. If I were the GM, I'm drafting a QB every year until I uncover the next Manning, Brady, Rogers, Brees etc. I'm not waiting for failure before I scramble and possibly overreach for a QB the next year. That's a recipe for disaster, not a recipe for Super Bowls.
Kyle: What people? No one close to the organization that I've heard, just people speculating. There has been nothing from the Broncos to suggest Dysert will beat out Osweiler. Dysert being an "Elway guy" just got him out of camp ahead of Ryan Katz, even though Katz looked better. It didn't activate Dysert on game day. It didn't put him ahead of Oz on the depth chart. Osweiler was the backup, Osweiler is the backup, and as long as Osweiler looks good enough with the backups, there's no point in drafting QBs to fight for backup reps. You can't possibly know what kind of metal you have - shiny or scrap - until they see time with the ones.
I can go on and on, but there are many people who think Dysert is better than Brock, and until/unless we see a QB blow our doors off (we haven't outside of Manning), QB will ALWAYS be a glaring need. Look at how badly the Colts were with their backup QBs because they figured they didn't need a plan B as long as they had Manning on the roster!
From the Archives
From the Archives
However, if my offseason article last year is any indication, going the route that the Colts went is not an option in anyone's eyes.
Also, I'll give you that until you look at the scrap metal, you might not see what you have, but if you go hunting in a new pile and find a piece of metal that turns out to be platinum, well, screw your investment in the old stuff you had high hopes for. You just hit the mother load!
Kyle: We agree to disagree. I can't tell what's platinum until the players see the field, and they won't see the field with Manning on the roster.
The only possible justification I can see in the Broncos drafting a QB in 2014 is the fact that Osweiler only has two years left on his deal, and Peyton Manning may play another two years. I still think Brock can be extended on a reasonable deal before he hits free agency in 2016, though. If I'm the Broncos GM, I draft elsewhere in 2014.