ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler left college after his junior season – his first as a starter.
Had he remained at Arizona State one more year, it is possible that he'd be in the conversation as the top passer in this year's draft class.
"I think so," Executive Vice President of Football Operations Elway said. "I think he would have been real close to the top, if not the top, of this class this year."
Instead, he was selected by the Broncos with the 57th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, the fifth quarterback taken.
The four quarterbacks drafted ahead of Osweiler all started immediately for their teams in 2012 and two of them made the Pro Bowl as rookies in what turned out to be a very deep class at that position.
As a result of Osweiler coming out early, the Broncos were able to add their quarterback of the future in the second round when the team had a four-time NFL MVP in place as its quarterback of the present.
Denver got the player that likely would have been a first-round pick – possibly the first overall pick – one year later using its second-round selection.
The team does have only two quarterbacks on the roster, so drafting one late or adding a college free agent is not out of the question.
"We had Matt Scott from Arizona and then (Zac) Dysert from (Miami-Ohio)," Elway said. "We just wanted to get them in and meet them and see what they're all about. We're always looking for quarterbacks. I think that's an area that we're always going to study and study hard, and because of the value of that position, if there's ever an opportunity late in the draft for a guy that we think that come in and develop and turn into a good NFL quarterback, we're going to look hard at that."
Thanks to having Peyton Manning and Osweiler in place, the Broncos don't need to take a quarterback early in the draft, which is a good thing according to Elway.
"I'm just glad we're not in that market," he said. "Let's put it that way."
With the way the quarterback prospects shaped out over the past two years, Elway is happy to have Osweiler on board.
"We're just thrilled," Elway said. "He's going to be so much better with a year under his belt, and learn how everything works, and get a chance to work underneath Peyton. He'll get a lot of reps this spring with Peyton kind of watching the amount of throws that he's going to make, that it will be a great opportunity for Brock this Spring."