John Elway was considered perhaps the best quarterback prospect ever heading into the 1983 NFL draft, and he went on to have a Hall of Fame career. But now that he’s the Broncos’ General Manager, not their quarterback, he doesn’t need another John Elway.
Elway said on the Dan Patrick Show that he has cast a wide net in looking at quarterbacks, and he’s looking for players who will live up to the best of their own abilities, not players who can emulate Elway himself as a player.
“Quarterbacks in this league have to be put in the best position to succeed, and I think that’s doing what they do best,” Elway said.
Elway obviously hit a home run at the quarterback position when he signed Peyton Manning as a free agent, but the question of whether he can draft a franchise quarterback remains to be seen. So far Elway has spent a second-round pick on Brock Osweiler in 2012, a seventh-round pick on Zac Dysert in 2013, a seventh-round pick on Trevor Siemian in 2015, a first-round pick on Paxton Lynch in 2016 and a seventh-round pick on Chad Kelly in 2017. Osweiler is in Cleveland now and Dysert is in Dallas, while Siemian, Lynch and Kelly are still in Denver.
If one of those last three turns out to be a long-term answer as a franchise quarterback, then Elway will have accomplished the most important job a G.M. has. Even if none of them is the next John Elway.