|Osweiler's apparently got the Broncos interested. (Getty Images)|
Despite signing Peyton Manning this offseason, the Denver Broncos still have a need at quarterback: Manning won't play forever, and the Broncos don't want to get caught with their pants down the way the Colts did in 2011.
Which is why it makes sense for them to work out some of the lower-tier quarterbacks in the 2012 draft class. And that's exactly what they did on Friday, per Mike Klis of The Denver Post, when they headed to Arizona State and worked out Brock Osweiler.
Osweiler's a good example of someone that the Broncos could draft with a middle-round pick and let learn under Manning and serve as the quarterback of the future. (Think: Ryan Mallett and the Patriots.)
At 21 years old and with just a single full year of college football under his belt, Osweiler's got some growing to do as a quarterback, even if the 6'7" quarterback did set a school record with 4,036 passing yards last year. If the Broncos draft him, he could spend the next few years learning the game under Manning and serve as the transition for Denver when Manning decides to retire.
There's only one problem with Osweiler in this roll (OK, at least one problem): the Broncos may not effectively be able to select Osweiler in the draft, because of the value some people place on the Arizona State product.
Some debate's started to build about where Osweiler should be selected. Generally speaking, people believe he's worth a mid-round pick. Rob Rang has Osweiler ranked as the sixth quarterback on NFLDraftScout.com, and pegs him for a third-to-fourth round pick.
On the other hand, NFL.com's Gil Brandt went out on a (long, thin) limb recently and called Osweiler a first-round pick. As my colleague Ryan Wilson pointed out at the time, plenty of people disagree with that assessment.
But that's the problem for Denver. If there are people who believe Osweiler's worth a first-round pick, there are probably people who think he's worth a second-round pick. Which means that Denver needs to absolutely be in love with him to use that slot to select a backup quarterback, instead of using it to bolster their team while Manning's still in his prime.
They don't want to get caught like the Colts, but they also have to exercise patience -- if Manning is as healthy and ready to play as they believe, they should have a three-year window with which to draft and groom a quarterback.
Taking the first guy that comes along could end up damaging the team over the short and long term.