Brock Osweiler

Draft Grades: Denver Broncos

By signing Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos gave themselves a three-year window in which they can make a serious run at the Super Bowl. But their selections in this draft class raise some questions about the direction this franchise is headed.

Derek Wolfe was a reach in the early 2nd round. John Fox was clearly looking for a penetrating three-technique tackle but, while Wolfe is a decent athlete for his size, he lacks the consistency to warrant such a high pick. He’ll be plugged into a starting role immediately, but I question his ability to be effective. There were better options, such as Kendall Reyes, on the board.

The Brock Osweiler selection baffles me. For starters, it’s a reach in the 2nd round. He is a purely developmental prospect who needs significant work on this motion and his decision making ability. But what really concerns me is that fact that the Broncos used an early pick on Manning’s replacement when they could have added a playmaker to help Manning in his pursuit of of Super Bowl title.

The selection of Ronnie Hillman has drawn criticism from some, but I’m on board with the pick. Yes, there were better running backs still on the board, but the Broncos weren’t looking for starter here. They’re comfortable with another season of Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno, meaning Hillman will be relied upon as a change-of-pace back, and he’s more than capable of filling that role.

Omar Bolden is an injury risk, but I like the gamble in the 4th round. If healthy, he has an excellent chance to win the nickel corner job and could develop into a quality starter down the road.

Phillip Blake will be given an opportunity to compete with J.D. Walton for the starting job at center. And if Walton’s performance from 2011 continues, Blake will have an excellent chance to win the job. He could prove to be a steal in the 4th round.

Malik Jackson is another prospect who could prove to be a late-round steal. I only had him rated slightly lower than Derek Wolfe, and two prospects are similar in many ways. He primarily played both tackle and end at Tennessee, but is better suited to stay inside in Denver’s 4-3 defense.

Danny Trevathan was a playmaker at Kentucky and an extremely productive collegiate linebacker. However, he’s undersized and lacks the athleticism to make up for it. His upside is limited, but he has a decent chance to make the Broncos roster based on his potential to contribute on special teams.

Overall, this was a disappointing haul for the Broncos. They didn’t make too many extreme reaches, but they also failed to add immediate help for Manning. Even if Osweiler proves to be the heir apparent to Manning, if they won’t win during the Manning era, we’ll have to wonder if they missed an opportunity to upgrade the talent around him with that selection.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012 2 Comments

Draft Losers: Denver Broncos

When the Denver Broncos signed a 36-year-old future Hall of Famer to play quarterback, everyone assumed they were gearing up for a serious run at the Super Bowl. But this draft class tells a different story.

We'll be seeing a lot of this from Osweiler.

The Broncos only landed one  player, Derek Wolfe, who will compete for a starting job in 2012. They also only added one offensive weapon, Ronnie Hillman, who is nothing more than a 3rd-down back who will have to fight for carries with Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno.

But the most surprising selection was Brock Osweiler, who will be groomed as Manning’s eventually replacement. Osweiler is a nice developmental prospect, but in the late 2nd round the Broncos could have added another impact player who would actually help in their pursuit of a Super Bowl title during the Manning era.

It would be very interesting to hear Manning’s reaction to this draft class. He can’t be happy about the lack of support he’ll receive from the Broncos rookie class.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Broncos 1 Comment

Denver Broncos select Brock Osweiler, Grade C+

Despite making the playoffs in 2012 and adding Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos are still a few pieces away from being legitimate contenders. So I find it odd that they drafted a guy who won’t see the field in any meaningful capacity until 2013 at the earliest.

Brock Osweiler is purely a developmental prospect, and wasn’t worth a 2nd-round selection in my opinion. I like a lot of his tools, but the Broncos coaching staff will likely need to re-work his throwing motion over the course of the next couple years. How quickly he develops may also hinge on how much Peyton Manning embraces the task of tutoring him.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Broncos Comments Off

Chiefs likely to draft QB early

The Kansas City Chiefs paid good money to bring Matt Cassel into the fold in 2009, but three years into his tenure he’s shown limited improvement. Now, with three years and just over $21M remaining on his contract, the Chiefs are starting to look for his eventual replacement.

The Chiefs have already arranged visits with Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins and Brock Osweiler, each of whom should come off the board no later than the 3rd round.

While I am generally against Ryan Tannehill going in the 1st round, the Chiefs would be a good fit. Tannehill is still learning the position and getting thrust into a starting role could be detrimental to his long-term development. In Kansas City, however, there will be no pressure to play right away. The Chiefs could stick with Cassel for at least one more year, if not longer.

Cousins and Osweiler are Day 2 prospects, who the Chiefs may consider in the early 2nd round. Cousins is more ready to play immediately, but Osweiler has the higher ceiling.

For more info, follow our Draft Visit Tracker, updated daily. 

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Chiefs Comments Off

Bills looking to draft a quarterback?

Last October, the Buffalo Bills locked up Ryan Fitzpatrick to a 7-year, $62M contract, so it may seem odd that they’re evaluating quarterbacks in the 2012 Draft.

However, only $24M of Fitzpatrick’s contract is guaranteed, and $10M of that has already been paid out in the form of a signing bonus. Additionally, the yearly value of the contract increases up to $7.2M in 2015 and approaches $10M in the final year of the deal.

In other words, there is no chance of Fitzpatrick playing out this contract, and the Bills are already looking into other long-term options at the position.

The Bills recently met with Kirk Cousins and have a visit scheduled with Brock Osweiler, two potential 2nd or 3rd-round prospects in the upcoming draft.

Neither quarterback would challenge Fitzpatrick for playing time in 2012, but both have the potential to develop into starters and could be the long-term answer in Buffalo.

For more info, follow our Draft Visit Tracker, updated daily. 

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bills Comments Off

Former NFL QB Tony Banks shares thoughts on Tannehill

I spent a good deal of time last night evaluating Ryan Tannehill and debating his potential on twitter. Shortly after posting a detailed break down of Tannehill’s performance against LSU in the 2011 Sugar Bowl, former quarterback and current Big Ten Network analyst Tony Banks chimed in.

I had stated that Tannehill’s accuracy was fine on simple routes, when his receivers aren’t on the move, but struggles hitting receivers in stride on slants and other crossing patters. That’s when Banks chimed in…

Clearly Banks was joking (sort of) which he explained later, but first went on to dismiss the notion of Tannehill as a 1st round prospect.

The conversation continued, but you get the jist of it from these tweets.

I completely agree with Banks’ blunt assessment that Tannehill “plays catch well” but struggles with the types of throws you need to make in the NFL. Saying he’s never made a 1st-round throw may be a slight exaggeration, but Banks was simply making his point clear – Tannehill was not forced to make the types of throws or decisions at Texas A&M that he will be faced with at the next level.

As the conversation turned from Tannehill, Banks also shared thoughts on Brock Osweiler (likes his potential but concerned with delivery) and his alma maters’ quarterback Kirk Cousins (likes his measurables but says he’s “skiddish” in the pocket”).

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft 1 Comment

Quarterback Search: Washington Redskins

Few teams have a more crucial and glaring hole to fill than the Washington Redskins need for a franchise quarterback. Unfortunately for the ‘Skins, their surprising early-season success left them with the 6th-overall selection, and potentially without any viable quarterback options in the 1st round.

However, owner Dan Snyder has never been shy about parting with draft picks, making them a legitimate candidate to trade up for Robert Griffin III. But before we assume the Redskins will attempt to move up (possibly to No. 2) to acquire Griffin, they first need to be sure he fits into Mike Shanahan’s offensive scheme.

As a former offensive coordinator, Shanahan likes to hand pick his quarterbacks, and has been reasonably successful in his efforts (at least prior to joining the Redskins).

While it’s tough to sum up all the quarterbacks Shanahan has used in 20+ years as a head coach/offensive coordinator, the one commonality between his primary signal callers has been their mobility. John Elway and Steve Young obviously stand out but Jake Plummer and, to a lesser extent, Steve Beuerlein, Jay Cutler and Brian Griese fit the mold as well.

Based solely on this trait, Griffin clearly fits the Shanahan profile. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Redskins will jump at the chance to move up.

Shanahan has always marched to the beat of his own drum, and isn’t shy about waiting until the later rounds to fill crucial needs. Other prospects such as Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles and Brock Osweiler also possess many of the same traits as Griffin, and could interest Shanahan in the late 1st (should the Redskins chose to trade down) or in the 2nd or 3rd round.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Redskins Comments Off

Quarterback Search: Denver Broncos

Most Denver Broncos fans probably won’t want to acknowledge this, but John Elway and his staff are probably going to bring in a quarterback, not just to backup Tim Tebow, but to seriously push him for the starting job.

Regardless of what you think of Tebow, he deserves to be recognized for his clutch performances. At times it seemed like he truly did will the Broncos to victory. In terms of team success, he exceeded all expectations.

But the fact remains that the Broncos scored two or fewer touchdowns in five of their seven victories with Tebow as the starter. And when you win games like that, it is never the quarterback’s doing.

The real MVP in Denver was the defense, which allowed 13 points or fewer in five of Tebow’s 11 starts – four of which resulted in wins that were unfairly credited to the Tebow by the media.

It’s tough to evaluate Tebow given his unorthodox style of play, but by using ESPN’s Total QBR we can reasonably compare him to more traditional pocket passers. Total QBR grades a quarterback’s performance in a given situation, and rewards players who make positive plays in clutch moments – regardless of whether the play is a run or pass.

One might expect this formula to favor Tebow more than the traditional statistics. However, of 34 qualifying quarterbacks, Tebow ranked 32nd – ahead of only Curtis Painter and Blaine Gabbert.

Tebow’s Total QBR of 27.2 is something awful (50 is considered average), but what makes it worse is his inconsistency.

Using each quarterback’s single-game QBRs, compared to their season-ending QBR we can determine who was most consistent – and Tebow ranks among the worst. On average, Tebow’s performance was anywhere for 23.8 points above or below his Total QBR.

One could argue that this shows his ability to perform at a high level, but 23.8 points above his average still only gets him to a Total QBR of 51 – roughly the league average.

A further examination of Tebow’s QBR also shows us that, contrary to popular belief, the Broncos did not live and die by his performance. Read more

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Broncos Comments Off

Brock Osweiler scouting report

Brock Osweiler QB Arizona State #17
Ht: 6’8″

Wt: 240

 
Strengths:
Impressive height with a strong overall build. Elite athleticism for a quarterback of his size; originally committed to Gonzaga to play basketball before deciding to focus on a football career. A threat to run the ball, and tough to bring down. Consistent accuracy on shorter routes. Strong arm; can make any throw asked of him. A team leader; selected as team captain in 2011 as a junior.
Weaknesses:
Has a naturally long throwing motion due to his size, but the issue is compounded by an awkward almost sidearm delivery. Motion is also very inconsistent; looks completely different from one throw to the next. Mechanics crumble under pressure; needs to remain calm and maintain his composure in the pocket. Takes a long stride when throwing from the pocket; the stride, coupled with side-arm motion takes away from his height advantage. A good athlete, but kind of awkward when he runs – looks like he doesn’t quite know what to do with all 6’8″ of himself. Tends to lock on to his first read; needs to make significant improvement in his ability to go through his progressions. Accuracy on throws beyond 15 yards is shaky. Limited experience; only one full year as the starter. Decision to turn pro after just one relatively mediocre year raises some questions (is he just in it for the money?) – he has stated it was due to the firing of Arizona State’s coaching staff.
Comments:
Based purely on potential, there’s a lot to like about Osweiler. His size, athleticism, arm strength and leadership are all pluses, and his accuracy is at least acceptable. In terms of NFL readiness, however, it’s difficult to accept any reason he gives for entering the draft and raises some questions about his motives which teams will need to address during the interview process. There are moments, primarily when given time in the pocket, when Osweiler looks like a future star. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t have the consistency to warrant a high pick. He would fit best in an organization with a stable situation at quarterback, where he can do nothing but stand on the sidelines and learn for at least the first two years of career. Throwing him into the fire too early could be detrimental to his long-term development.
Videos:
2011 vs Boise State (bowl game)
2011 vs USC 
2011 vs Illinois 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 1 Comment