Elway: Osweiler would be top QB in 2013

INDIANAPOLIS -- Brock Osweiler likely won’t be needed in Denver until at least 2015. But John Elway thinks he has something special in the second-year quarterback.

In fact, Elway thinks his backup quarterback would be the prize at the position had he returned to Arizona State last season instead of declaring for the draft. Denver took Osweiler in the second round with the 57th overall pick to groom under Peyton Manning.

Friday, I asked Elway where he would rank Osweiler in this class of rookie quarterbacks.

“First,” Elway said strongly and without any hesitation.

This is considered a weak quarterback class. Many league observers don’t think there is a quarterback currently worthy of being a first-round pick.

“From what I’ve seen from this class and what I’ve seen from Brock in the past year, I’d put him first,” Elway said. “Would he be a top-10 pick? I’m not sure, but he’d definitely be a first-round pick .... Now, I’m biased. But I really like what I’ve seen from him.

“And he is getting great training playing behind Peyton .... We’re really lucky to have Brock. We’re excited.”

I asked Steve Muench from Scouts Inc. for his opinion on whether Osweiler would be at the top of this rookie draft class. He said it is difficult to tell because it's still early in the draft evaluation process. But Muench said Scouts Inc. does not currently have any rookie quarterbacks ranked in the first round and that they gave Osweiler an early second-round grade last year.

A concern about him was his relative lack of experience. Perhaps another year of playing at Arizona State would have moved him from the second round to the first round this year.