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Denver Broncos almost drafted Brandon Weeden

Denver Broncos fans, focused on a potential playoff bye, can take a glimpse at the path not taken this Sunday. That's when the Broncos host the Cleveland Browns, led by 29-year-old rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden.

If Peyton Manning hadn't accepted Denver's invitation to save the franchise, Weeden might be starting for the Broncos right now.

Jeff Legwold of The Denver Post writes that Weeden "likely" would have been drafted by the Broncos if they didn't sign Manning. Once Manning was in place, it didn't make sense to take an older developmental prospect. Weeden was attractive to the Broncos because they believed he could play sooner than later.

He has done just that in Cleveland, to mixed results. Weeden hasn't been as bad as public perception thinks, but he hasn't proven yet that he has enough feel to be The Guy for the future, especially when change is coming at the top of the Browns' organization.

Broncos fans should be thankful every day that they don't have quarterback questions. Denver knows what it's like to be in the wilderness, looking for a quarterback. That's not an issue any more.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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