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Elway hints his bias is still for a QB in free agency

But the Hall-of-Famer is having fun watching potential top QB draft picks at the Senior Bowl.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-North Practice Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

While scouts and media members scrutinized every throw of Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen during Wednesday’s Senior Bowl practice, Broncos’ GM John Elway called the day’s drills “fun to watch” and two “really good days.”

He even hinted at being impressed. At least a little.

“[Mayfield] is a guy that competes. He comes out here and throws the ball very well. He’s got a strong arm. He throws with good anticipation,” Elway said of the Oklahoma signal caller after praising both of the QB prospects. “They look good. It’s always hard coming down and throwing to people you are not familiar with and new routes. ...Very strong arms, so it’s been fun to watch.”

But if Elway isn’t allowing himself to get too starstruck by a couple of the NFL Draft’s likely top QB picks, you’ll forgive him.

After all, he and the Broncos are still recovering from a swing-and-a-miss on drafting Paxton Lynch at 26th two years ago, only to still have the first-rounder sitting on the bench most of the last two seasons.

So as you probably already knew - and most certainly are not surprised by - Elway is more comfortable getting top talent via free agency.

Yet Elway insisted it’s easier to put the pieces of the puzzle together for the draft after being able to put a few pieces on the table from free agency first.

“I think as we get closer and as we get into free agency once we get back to the office, start looking at availability and what’s out there,” Elway said, adding that he’ll rank the free agents in relation to team needs, budget and cap space.

“We’ll look at all of the holes that we do have, see what’s available and also how everything fits with what we want to do and the value that’s there,” he added. “Trying to manipulate everything to where we get the best bang for our buck when it comes down to cap dollars as well as the best football team.”

Of course, even if Elway lands a veteran quarterback via free agency, there’s no reason to think he won’t also go after a top draft-pick QB if the fit is right.

While Wyoming’s Allen certainly impressed onlookers Wednesday with his deep ball, it was Mayfield with the precise and consistent throws that got the highest praise - at least on social media (which doesn’t exactly count).

And perhaps more important than seeing their throws or watching them in the game is the quarterbacks’ interaction with Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph as well as offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and QB coach Mike Sullivan.

To Elway, that’s as big of an advantage as the Broncos’ brass could get right now as they fit all the pieces together for improving the team in the offseason.

“I think that is the biggest part of it,” Elway said. “You get to spend time and spend a week with them...we get to see 50-55 of them and be around them and coach them a little bit. It’s a big plus to spend a week with them.”

Spending time on the sideline is extra helpful for the coaches.

“There is no question. To be able to get into meeting rooms with them, get to know them as people, have the coaches be around them and see how they are in the meeting rooms—they learn a little bit about them as well as their football knowledge,” Elway added. “It’s important. It’s definitely a plus to be around them for a week.”

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