Shortly after the Denver Broncos signed free-agent quarterback Peyton Manning to a five-year, $96 million contract, the club raised eyebrows by using the 57th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler. During a conference call Tuesday with more than 6,000 Broncos season-ticket holders, executive vice president of football operations John Elway was asked to explain the reasoning behind the move.
"It's always tough to pick a quarterback that you know is not going to play for you for a while," Elway said, according to The Associated Press. "But I think we have high hopes for him in the future, to where once Peyton decides to hang them up, that he's the guy in waiting that can keep this (going) and we don't miss a beat ... and we can continue to compete for world championships, year in and year out."
After signing Manning and trading Tim Tebow to the New York Jets, the Broncos added former Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie. Hanie, who struggled while playing in place of an injured Jay Cutler late last season, would appear to be a career backup.
Considering that Manning had multiple neck surgeries and missed all of the 2011 season, he's no longer a sure bet to hold up, physically. Drafting a quarterback they could develop into an eventual starter became a high priority for the Broncos' front office.
With just 25 games and one year of starting experience in college, the 6-foot-7, 242-pound Osweiler is a year or two away from being a full-time starting quarterback in the NFL. Who better for him to learn from than a future Hall of Famer like Manning?
"It's a perfect situation, where there's not the pressure for him to come in and start right away," Elway said of Osweiler. "He's not ready for that. But he's also going to learn from Peyton and ... I think it's a great learning experience for him to where we are set for the future.
"And he's our guy for the future," Elway said. "And sometimes we have to sacrifice the short-term for the long-term to grab the guy that you believe can be that next guy for you, and that's Brock Osweiler."