ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — During the week of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Broncos' most important addition may not have been a draft pick at all.
That distinction could go to veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, whom the Broncos acquired in a draft-eve trade.
After building a talented roster through free agency and the draft, the Broncos' biggest question in 2021 will come down to quarterback play. Third-year player Drew Lock showed flashes in his first season as Denver's primary starter in 2020, but he struggled to limit turnovers and General Manager George Paton maintained through the offseason that the team would add competition at the position.
Bridgewater, who visited UCHealth Training Center recently, told DenverBroncos.com's Sydney Jones that he's thrilled for a new start in Denver.
"I was very excited," Bridgewater said. "New beginning, new opportunities and just an opportunity just to come in. It's a great football team, some great pieces here. And I think I have the opportunity to come in and fit right in with those guys."
In Denver's offense, Bridgewater will have the opportunity to join a talented offensive unit that features former Pro Bowlers in Courtland Sutton and Melvin Gordon III, a 2020 second-team All-Pro in tackle Garett Bolles and former first-round picks Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant.
"It's a talented football team, and it has so many pieces," Bridgewater said. "I'm just glad to be a part of what they're doing around here and what we're trying to build here. It's a great, unique opportunity for me to come in and compete and lead at the same time. I'm just grateful for this opportunity."
As Paton said on April 29, Bridgewater's timing and decision-making could make him a good fit in that offense. Through 59 career games, Bridgewater has completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 11,385 yards, 53 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.
"When you watch him on tape, the game is really easy for him," Paton said. "He moves the team. He plays in rhythm. He makes the players around him better. We like the way he plays. He throws on time and the offense is in rhythm. That's what we liked when we watched the tape."
Bridgewater, eager for the opportunity, believes the competition for the starting role alongside Lock will make the team stronger as a whole.
"Competition makes us all better as human beings," Bridgewater said. "In the end, you look back and you realize you form relationships and bonds with different guys through competition. You learn a lot about the guy you're competing against, the guy you're competing with. So I'm looking forward to this opportunity, making the best of it and just going out there and taking it one day at a time."
In the days after the trade, Bridgewater has been welcomed by teammates with open arms. Sutton and Fant stopped by to greet Bridgewater when he was at Denver's practice facility, and the quarterback said he's received welcome messages from Jeudy, Von Miller and Justin Simmons.
With that environment and a chance to lead Denver's offense, Bridgewater's shot is in his hands. All he can do is bring his best and see how it unfolds, and that's just his plan.
"I'm looking forward to just working here, being the best football player I can be, being the best teammate I can be, the best person in the community," Bridgewater said. "That's ultimately why they brought me here. So I look forward to just having some fun this year and making the best of it."
After the Broncos agreed to a trade to acquire veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, take a look back at his extensive career with photos dating back to a storied time at the University of Louisville.