Radio personality and friend of the Fancast, Darren "Dmac" McKee from 104.3 the Fan radio has apparently gotten more comfortable in his role as a blogger. Dmac, presumably working in his mothers' basement (that's where we all work), constructed a long, rambling post for Mile High Sports titled "The pick that shouldn't have been made" which they published at their site today. It criticizes the Denver Broncos for their selection of Brock Osweiler in the second round of the 2012 draft.
In the article, Dmac very thoughtfully analyses the selections Denver might have otherwise made if Osweiler hadn't been a priority. He makes the point that, as good as the team is, it may fall just short of being good enough to win it all because they selected him when they did. Osweiler, after all, isn't going to contribute to the team this season or in any of the next several seasons, assuming Peyton Manning stays healthy. And, if Manning were to be injured it would be curtains for the Broncos, anyway .. so what was the point?
Naturally, Dmac isn't the only member of the Denver media hammering this point. The draft Elway put together has been roundly criticized. Perhaps the criticism is on point. It may be perfectly fair to assert that Denver would be stronger had they selected a linebacker with the Osweiler pick, or a running back like Tampa's rookie sensation, Doug Martin.
John Elway saw something in Brock Osweiler, though. He had to have him. In fact, Elway restructured the early part of the Broncos draft specifically so that Osweiler would land in the Broncos hands.
There are those who would imply that there was some degree of nepotism involved. Brock Osweiler practically roomed with John Elway's son Jack Elway at Arizona State. They lived in the same dorm and were reportedly best friends. The son of a Hall of Fame NFL QB who happens to also be the Vice President of Football Operations for an NFL franchise isn't a bad guy to know when you're a college player hoping to be drafted into the pros. To imply, however, that John Elway would do his kid a "solid" by wasting a critical draft pick is nothing short of ridiculous.
John Elway has a plan.
Brock Osweiler is 6'7" tall. Peyton Manning is 6'5". The similarities between the two quarterbacks don't end there. And, as we have seen while watching the Broncos on TV, they appear to get along well. Peyton Manning is mentoring the youngster - which is something he's been rather notorious for not having done in the past. There's no reason for him not to. He knows that the end of his career is looming. His contract with Denver is for five years, but, at age 36, he's not likely to play all five of those seasons. It's far more likely that Manning calls it a day after having played four. Assuming, of course, that he stays healthy enough to play that long.
Brock Osweiler's rookie deal is for four years. By the time it's up he will have been Manning's understudy for a long time, but he will only be 25 years old. Isn't it conceivable that John Elway did the math on this? Couldn't he have convinced Brock to remain the number two until his rookie contract was up with the promise that, after four seasons learning under one of the all-time greats, he would be given a new deal - and the keys to the Denver Broncos franchise?
Isn't it also conceivable that, while he met with Manning prior to his signing with the Broncos, that the two agreed that the training of an heir-apparent would be part of their arrangement?
There's an expectation in today's NFL that a high draft pick at the quarterback position will start right away. A massive influx of young QB talent is flooding the league, causing hopes for the future of the league to soar. Just this season we've seen Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and, to a lesser degree, Brandon Weeden, find immediate success. However, other young quarterbacks, including Cam Newton and Mark Sanchez, who flashed early, have struggled in their sophomore campaigns.
It's difficult to argue with the fact that Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are two of the very best quarterbacks in the entire league. Each of them warmed the bench and awaited their turn to be starters. Is it possible that if they were thrown into the fire too soon that they're potential could have been lessened?
Before we conclude that Brock Osweiler was a waste of a second round pick, perhaps we should defer to John Elway's judgment. Based on the success he has brought the Denver Broncos since he took over as their de-facto General Manager, it’s fair to say that he deserved the benefit of the doubt. We’re all draft experts to one degree or another, but Elway is well on his way to being the NFL’s Executive of the Year.
Darren “Dmac” McKee’s job is to have a strong opinion, backed up a deep knowledge of the teams he covers. He has got to take a stand sometimes and sometimes he even has to say ridiculous things. That’s what makes him interesting and that’s what gains him listeners. In this case, he has worked hard on an item intended to generate clicks for his partners at Mile High Sports. Far be it for me to criticize that. I have to believe that he’s wrong about Brock Osweiler, though.
There are a thousand other ways that the 2012 draft might have fallen. It’s easy to look around the league to see the early success other rookies are having and make the assertion that the Denver Broncos should have taken any one of them. But, if you look down the road, and consider that John Elway knows the importance of the quarterback position, and that he’s here to win, not just now, but for decades to come, it’s difficult to question his moves.
There will be more linebackers in next years draft. Of course, as good as Elways’ Broncos have been, we may not get one until the 32nd pick.