Handicapping Denver's QB race

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- It is clear Josh McDaniels believes he has found his ideal quarterback of the future in Denver in the form of Florida’s Tim Tebow.

McDaniels traded three picks to take Tebow at No. 25. Despite mixed feelings on Tebow around the league, McDaniels believes he can make him a star.

Much of McDaniels’ attention will be spent getting Tebow ready to be an NFL starting quarterback. Still, the Broncos have three other quarterbacks on the roster: Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn (acquired in a trade last month) and Tom Brandstater.

Thursday night, McDaniels said Orton is still the starter, but he made it clear Tebow will get a chance to play when he’s ready. McDaniels said the team may design some packages for Tebow to play immediately and he could potentially play in the Wildcat formation as a rookie.

The following are my thoughts on where the four quarterbacks fit in Denver:

Orton: If Tebow develops as planned, this will likely be Orton’s last season in Denver. Orton is a free agent next year. If Tebow is starting in 2011, Orton will likely take a hike. If Tebow struggles with his mechanics and doesn’t develop, perhaps Orton could stay. Clearly, though, McDaniels envisions Orton as a bridge player and not the long-term answer.

Tebow: He is the star pupil at Camp McDaniels. Tebow will get every chance to succeed and McDaniels will give him masterful tutoring. Tebow is famous for his work ethic. If he stays the course, Tebow will have the chance to play some as a rookie and take over in 2011.The future is Tebow’s in Denver. He has to seize it.

Quinn: He has to be chagrined today. He was brought to Denver from Cleveland for Peyton Hillis and two low drafts picks last month. Quinn looked at the trade as a chance to salvage his career which began a first-round pick in 2007. Now, Quinn is yesterday’s news in Denver. Already. It’s all about Tebow. Quinn could possibly be Orton’s backup in 2010 and Tebow’s backup in 2011, but his realistic chances of being the quarterback of the future in Denver took a major hit Thursday night.

Brandstater: Like Quinn, Brandstater can’t be thrilled. He was a sixth-round pick last year and was considered a project. Brandstater did play decently in the preseason last year. Assuming Quinn is kept, Brandstater will be a candidate for the practice squad after being the No. 3 quarterback last year. If Quinn is ousted, Brandstater will likely stay as the No. 3.