For longtime NFL scouts, stories can be a currency — stories of great finds or the best players they ever saw.
It's fertile ground for conversation, too, as there's no easy answer. But certain names come up more than others, and on the topic of best prospects, John Elway's is a common one.
ESPN's Jeff Legwold, who has written extensively on the NFL scouting process over the years, asked several scouts and executives about the best prospects they've seen, and Elway was one of the four top picks — and the only quarterback to make the list.
"He was the blueprint — Stanford brain, best arm I've ever seen, run, throw, confident, competitive," a current general manager told Legwold. "He ruined looking at quarterbacks."
With the Cardinal, Elway was a singular talent — a passer with a tremendous arm and elusiveness — who has long been considered the greatest quarterback prospect ever. It made him the top-overall pick by the Colts and general manager Ernie Accorsi, who later called him "the greatest prospect I ever saw, at any position."
The Broncos also recognized that greatness and, since Elway did not want to play for the Colts, made the franchise-altering trade to bring the star quarterback to Denver. By the time Elway retired, he became the Broncos' all-time passing leader, earned nine Pro Bowls, won the 1987 NFL MVP award and helped win the organization its first two Super Bowls.
Below the Fold
This year's NFL Draft is inching closer — now just 10 days out — and ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has picked his favorite prospects at each position. Several NFL Draft analysts have been projecting an edge rusher or defensive lineman for the Broncos in the third round, and Kiper's favorite defensive end, YaYa Diaby, could be available in that range.
"He flies off the edge to get hurries -- he's a disruptive player," Kiper wrote. "The 6-3 263-pounder ran a 4.51-second 40 at the combine and his 1.56-second 10-yard split was right at the top among the edge rushers. He also put up a 37-inch vertical leap. He has the tools to be a great player, although he needs some seasoning to put everything together."