McDaniels sticks to roots by taking a QB late

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- While the Denver Broncos didn't find any immediate competition for quarterback Kyle Orton this weekend, the Broncos did indentify a potential prospect for the future.

Sticking to his roots of taking a quarterback late in the draft, new Denver coach Josh McDaniels took a flyer on Fresno State quarterback Tom Brandstater with the first pick of the sixth round. Denver traded a seventh-round pick this year and fifth-rounder next year to take Brandstater.

The defense-hungry Broncos, which took six offensive players in their 10-player draft, were studying a lot of quarterbacks late in the draft and Brandstater was at the top of their list.

The pick follows the Patriots' model. New England struck gold with late-round picks Tom Brady and Matt Cassel this decade. After coaching both players this decade, McDaniels, who came to Denver as New England's offensive coordinator, saw that quarterbacks can be developed after being late picks.

Like Brady and Cassel, Brandstater is a big quarterback. He is 6-foot-5, 223 pounds. He has a strong arm but needs coaching. McDaniels' forte is teaching quarterbacks and cleary he saw something in Brandstater to trade up to get him.

Brandstater was thrilled to end up with McDaniels. He shares an agent with Cassel. Cassel told Brandstater prior to draft that Denver would be a great place for him.

Perhaps Brandstater will be McDaniels' next great quarterback. Until then, it will be up to McDaniels to make it work with Orton.