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Searching for 'Potential' in Late-Round QBs

Posted Feb 23, 2014

EVP of Football Ops/GM John Elway discussed what he looks for when evaluating draft prospects at the quarterback position, particularly in the later rounds.

INDIANAPOLIS -- After taking quarterbacks in each of the last two drafts -- including Brock Osweiler with a second-round selection in 2012 -- the position is almost certainly not atop the Broncos' priority list.

That doesn't mean that Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway and his staff are not looking at quarterbacks. But finding the right ones is an inexact science, and as much intuitive as empirical.

"They've got to be able to throw the football and process information, but the one thing that sticks with me, and that [father Jack Elway] always said, is that you look at the Hall of Fame, and the common denominator about everybody in the Hall of Fame is that they're all great competitors," Elway said. "There's not a guy in that Hall that wasn't a great competitor.

"And when you look at quarterbacks, to me that's the most important thing, too, is for them to be great and for you to be great, they've got to be great competitors and everything else, and obviously they have to have the tools, but one thing you can't be successful without at that position is not being competitive."

It would come as no surprise if the Broncos drafted another quarterback in the later rounds or signed one as a high-priority undrafted free agent. It's only logical to keep adding players at the most important position on the field, and the appreciation of quarterbacks in a pass-intensive league often makes the position a good bargain. If you can't create playing time for developmental quarterbacks, then you can flip them via trade for a higher pick than the one originally invested.

The criteria is a bit different in the later rounds and undrafted rookies than it is for the first and second rounds.

“I think you have to see the potential," Elway said. "You have to have the raw potential of the arm strength and the ability to move around and to process information. Those are the three things you try to find out about in a quarterback."

From there, it's up to the coaches. Quarterbacks Coach Greg Knapp is one of the coaches who helped run the quarterback drills during Sunday's workouts, providing him a closer glimpse and additional insight into the passers.

"You have to have that ability, first, and then hopefully we can get it out of you," Elway said.