A year later, John Elway stands by decision to draft Brock Osweiler


It’s a question Broncos boss John Elway is still getting a year later: Why, when you already had Peyton Manning, did you spend a 2012 second-round draft pick on quarterback Brock Osweiler?

Elway’s answer: Because Osweiler is a future starter in Denver, and you don’t pass on a chance to draft a guy like that.

“I know I said after we signed Peyton that we didn’t have a plan B, but there was a plan B in Brock,” Elway told the Denver Post. “No. 1, we didn’t have a backup and No. 2, it wasn’t exactly a sure thing with Peyton coming back. My thought was, we wanted a guy for the future, No. 1. No. 2, if it didn’t work out with Peyton, we could load up with a guy that we liked and who could be the guy for the next 10, 12 years. And No. 3, if Peyton did come back and play like he did, then Brock could get a great education of how things were supposed to be done as a quarterback, what you had to go through, to see one of the best of all time do it. To me it was a perfect scenario. With the importance of that position, you never waste one. Plus, we liked him a lot. And having been with him a year, we like him even more.”

If Osweiler eventually becomes Manning’s successor and is a Pro Bowler in his own right, then Elway made a great choice. But that’s a big “if.” And the reality is that the Broncos were thisclose to winning a playoff game against the Ravens, the team that eventually won the Super Bowl, which makes it easy for Broncos fans to wonder if they could have gotten one more solid starter in the second round of the draft, and if one more solid starter might have put them over the top.

Consider, for instance, that the player drafted immediately after Osweiler, Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David, had an outstanding rookie season and was NFC Rookie of the Month in November. Or that the player drafted three spots after Osweiler, Baltimore guard Kelechi Osemele, ended up starting every game for the Ravens. Or that the player drafted five spots after Osweiler, Green Bay cornerback Casey Hayward, had a good rookie season for the Packers, with six interceptions. Maybe if the Broncos’ second-round pick had been a player like that — not a player who spent the playoff loss to the Ravens on the sideline with a clipboard in his hands — Denver would have won the Super Bowl.

It’s impossible to know. But Elway isn’t going to second-guess himself now.

28 responses to “A year later, John Elway stands by decision to draft Brock Osweiler

  1. Even though Peyton did his annual swan dive in the playoffs…you can’t argue the pick too much. They had an excellent regular season on both sides of the ball – so based on their record – there were no glaring weaknesses that could have been filled by another hotshot rookie.

    Playoffs? another story entirely. I don’t care if Manning throws for 10,000 yards in the regular season – he will always fail in the playoffs…it is just a major flaw that he has. They can go 16-0 next year and you will still see the “confused lost confidence dummy Manning look” on the sidelines come playoff time. It never fails.
    He never would have gotten the 1 SB that he has if it wasn’t for Rex Grossman and the no offense having Bears.

    Michael David Smith: He will always fail in the playoffs…except that this year he had them in position to win if the defense hadn’t given up a 70-yard touchdown pass. And except for the year when he was Super Bowl MVP. Not quite “always,” is it?

  2. You could play ‘what ifs’ all day.

    What if the Denver’s secondary didn’t blow the coverage with 30 seconds left in the game.

  3. If Belichick drafts a position player in the 3rd round instead of Mallett, maybe they beat the Ravens.

    Of course, who would second guess the hoody, and his 0 Superbowls since he couldn’t cheat anymore.

  4. or they could have stuck with the qb they had who actually won a playoff game for them. and did that despite the coach and elway going out of their way to let him know they did not want him or like his way of winning. nothing like your boss with a look of disgust after you have done your job and won a game then reading about how terrible you looked doing it. I lost all the respect I had for him as a player and a competitor for the way he treated Tebow and will always root against the broncos because of it. spare me your excuse the bottom line is the worst qb in history according to you revisionist bronco fans won a playoff game for your team and the greatest of all time did not.

  5. And what would people be saying if the Broncos had drafted a Lavonte David, Peyton suffered a career-ending neck injury, Brock had a great rookie season, and the Broncos went 6-10?

    Something along the lines of, “In one of the best quarterback classes we’ve ever seen, the Broncos passed and rolled the dice on a 37-year-old coming off four neck surgeries with no backup plan?!”

  6. It’s like why did the Packers waste a #1 draft pick on a QB when they had Favre. He had 4, or maybe 5, or maybe 6 years left. How did that work out?

  7. Elway told the Denver Post. “No. 1, we didn’t have a backup”.

    Well you might have heard of this one guy… won a playoff game with you…think his name was Tebow?

  8. Well, if we continue to play the “What if” game, what would happen if Manning was injured a game or 2 last year? Brock.

    It plays both ways. I’m not saying he is the next Manning, but he can learn from one of the best thats ever played the game behind center.

    Pretty good Apprenticeship!

  9. Gee, if only there was an example of a team drafting a qb high when they didn’t really need a quarterback because there current starter was towards the end of the career. Because, ya know, it didn’t work in Green Bay. Or San Franciso.

  10. Before anyone jumps on me i’m going to pull a Youkillis. I don’t mean Osweiller is going to be the next Aaron Rodgers by any means. But Rodgers did ride the bench up in GB for awhile and look where it’s gotten him. Could work in Denver?!. Nobody wants Ryan Leaf 😦

  11. How did drafting Rodgers while having Favre as a starter work out for the Packers? No problem having some foresight down the road…


  12. None of the three rookies mentioned in the article would have seen the field for Denver. Lavonte David, a WLB, would’ve been behind Wesley Woodyard, who enjoyed a career year in 2012. Kelechi Osemele would’ve been behind Chris Kuper, who turned down a Pro Bowl invite because of injury, and Zane Beadles, who also had a career year and replaced Kuper on the Pro Bowl roster. Casey Heyward would’ve been behind Chris Harris and Tony Carter, who both enjoyed break out seasons. That doesn’t even take into account the fact that the Broncos DID draft players at each of the three positions played by David, Osemele, and Heyward (Trevathan, Blake and Bolden).

    Better find a new criticism of Elway, MDS, because this one doesn’t hold water.

  13. So just to sum up…

    – Elway signs a QB in his late 30’s, a clear “win now” move.

    – After committing to “win now”, Elway drafts a QB in the second round to “build for the future”.

    – Operation “Win Now” suffers a serious setback thanks to Rahim Moore, who was also a 2nd round pick by Elway.

    – No one has any idea how good Brock Osweiler is or isn’t because he hasn’t played a meaningful snap.

    – People are calling Elway savvy and saying Osweiler was a good pick.


  14. First of all, the Broncos and Peyton Manning (the greatest offensive coordinator/coach/player of all-time) did not lose the playoff game because of a 70 yard touchdown play.

    The game continued and the greatest offensive/coordinator/coach/quarterback to ever play the game chose to take a knee rather that try to win a playoff game. The greatest offensive coordinator/coach/quaterback was single-handedly responsible for three turnovers, including one beauty in his own territory in sudden death overtime. This after being handed TWO touchdowns by his kickoff/return star.

    Can you imagine Tom Brady getting 14 points and losing a game? Or Joe Montana? Or any of the other hall of famers that the media insist Peyton Manning is the equal of?

    How about instead of web site bloggers blasting a readers’ criticism of a quarterback who fails time and again when it supposedly matters the most, he actually look at the numbers. Meaningless wins against teams that are all picking in the top 10 of April’s draft (Chiefs twice, Raiders twice, Chargers twice, Browns, Panthers) and gaudy stats in a pass-happy league are great for up and coming quarterbacks to prove they belong, but he is 36 or 37 years old.

    He is 9-11 in games that define legacies. Except the sportwriters like him so much that they continue to make excuses for him. Which is harder now that he is on his second team and is doing the exact same Regular Season Play Like Tarzan, Post Season Play Like Jane routine.

    He got a head start on this in college, where he couldn’t win his conference but upon graduation watched Tee Martin guide the Vols to not only a conference title but the National Title as well.

    Peyton Manning has a losing record in the playoffs, including 8 one and outs, many of which took place with having the number one seed in his conference, which means he lost playoff games with the best team.

    Joe Flacco has as many playoff wins (9) as Peyton Manning. Joe Flacco entered the NFL in 2008. Peyton Manning in 1998. A ten-year headstart and he has already as many wins and as many Super Bowls (and as many Super Bowl MVPs, Michael David Smith). But of course, the Broncos and Peyton Manning are once again listed as prohibitive favorites to win the Super Bowl.

    Until the 2013 playoffs start. Then it will be the same story all over again.

    A little criticism for a quarterback that so badly under-performs when it matters the most would be a nice change of pace from a sportswriter or two.

  15. So basically, because Manning defied the odds and stayed healthy all season, Elway was an idiot for drafting a backup QB. Don’t you understand how short-sighted that is?

  16. The Vikings didn’t take a QB after they signed Favre. In 2010 they took Webb in the 6th round as a WR. When you sign a vet that old, you gotta draft somebody. Otherwise once the vet leaves you end up having to reach.

  17. Ask Jim Irsay and the Colts what life is like when you don’t have a backup behind Peyton Manning. Keep in mind that was the season before so I’m sure Elway was well aware.

  18. There is also the fact that Russell Wilson was still available when the Broncos took Oz. taking Wilson and the work ethic he displayed at Wisconsin, and having HIM learn the NFL game from P Manning. That would’ve been scary…

  19. You can’t second guess yourself. It was a good pick! And honestly, the ONLY reason Denver didn’t make it to the SuperBowl was because of blown coverage on one play. There’s no way a second round draft pick would have made their season turn out much better.

  20. Maybe if the Packers spent their 2005 1st round pick on anything other than QB – they win games in 2005/2006 ….maybe even the 07 NFC title game, but then what happens after 07 when they don’t have Brett anymore?

    Aaron Rodgers was questionable pick, til he got his chance to start – he’s been all pro since then.

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