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John Elway, Vance Joseph's look at Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen on Pro Days 'reaffirms' evaluations

ORLANDO, Fla. --From Indianapolis to Oklahoma to Los Angeles and on to central Florida, the March travelogue for President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway and Head Coach Vance Joseph looks a bit like one of the maps from the Indiana Jones movies showing the daredevil archaeologist's globe-trotting trek in search of antiquities and adventure.

No trips captured more attention than the ones to Norman, Oklahoma, and Southern California, largely because of the players they were there to see: quarterback prospects Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma and Josh Rosen of UCLA.

Those visits are only part of the voluminous research the Broncos have conducted on players expected to go in the first few picks of the draft. That work will continue in April, when the Broncos host a maximum of 30 players for in-person visits at UCHealth Training Center.

"It just kind of reaffirms things," Elway said Monday. "We saw Mayfield throw down at the Senior Bowl. We saw Rosen throw at the Combine, so you get to see him throw to some of his [teammates], and he was a little more comfortable. He had a better Pro Day [than Combine workout] as far as throwing the football.

"But all it does is reconfirm what you see on tape. They can all throw it."

Rosen's precision stood out, Joseph said, and reflected what was apparent from his on-field work the last three seasons, in which he completed 60.9 percent of his passes and averaged 311.4 yards per game.

"With Rosen, when you press 'play' on the tape, it's what we saw at his Pro Day -- a very, very accurate passer," Joseph said. "He's a guy that's really polished for a young guy. As you watch more tape on him, he's ready to go from a physical perspective, not knowing how he's going to react to NFL defenses, but physically, he's a talented passer of the football."

Denver's view of Mayfield's Pro Day performance was enhanced by its coaches' work with him at the Senior Bowl.

"It was good to have an up-close look as far as his football IQ and football talents," Joseph said of Mayfield's Senior Bowl work. "But watching his Pro Day, it was much of what we saw during the season -- he's a very, very accurate passer. For a smaller guy, he can throw the football a long ways. He can make every throw that you ask quarterbacks to make in this league, so it was very exciting to watch him perform."

On-field work, of course, is just part of the picture for quarterbacks. Leadership counts. Personality matters.

"I think that's a lot of it, especially at the quarterback position," Elway said. "More than any position, a lot of it -- if not half of it -- is coming from the inside. How they handle situations as far as media, in-game situations, pressure situations -- all those type of things that you really can't quantify with a grade or anything else, you just try to spend time around them and learn what type of people they are.

"Hopefully they're going to be able to handle the situation -- and what goes along with it -- when they're a quarterback in the NFL."

Through all of their work and traveling, the Broncos' goal is to find out whether these quarterbacks can.

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