Brock Osweiler is a pretty tall fella. You know this, because before he was drafted in 2012 his height was the first thing anyone ever mentioned about the quarterback. It was devastating when he measured at 6'6 and 7/8 inches tall at the NFL Combine instead of the 6'8 that media had touted throughout his Arizona State career.
The legend of Osweiler's height holds a neat little spot in NFL mythology. The fact that it is still all we really know about Osweiler The Football Player is becoming problematic for both him and the Denver Broncos, however. With the NFL Draft just days away, the Broncos appear likely to draft a quarterback with a middle-round pick. The selection would be a telling referendum on Osweiler's development.
The Broncos made Osweiler a second-round pick the same year they signed Peyton Manning. The logic was obvious: Manning was 36 years old and coming off a lost 2011 season due to spinal surgery, and even in the best case scenario -- which has come to fruition, for the most part -- the Broncos would be looking for a replacement after three or four years when Manning retired. Osweiler would be the man in waiting.
But as Manning turned in some of his best seasons during the latter stage of his career, Osweiler never shined. He completed 56.7 percent of his passes for 159 yards and one touchdown in 13 regular season appearances, and 57.7 percent of his passes for 930 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions in 12 preseason appearances. Outwardly, there wasn't much to see.
What has occurred inwardly is more difficult to discern, but when Manning worked out a deal to stay in Denver this season for a small pay cut it probably wasn't a good sign for Osweiler. Manning struggled at the close of the 2014 season, throwing six interceptions to four touchdowns in his final five games, including an 11-point loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs. The cap-strapped Broncos could have saved $16.5 million if they released him before March 9, or $19 million if Manning retired. Instead, they ate the money in hopes Manning can have at least one more good season.
Osweiler, meanwhile, is entering the final season of his four-year rookie contract. The Broncos haven't given any overt sign that they would like to keep him around. At this point, four years of a promising unknown may be more enticing than a pricier long-term deal with a quarterback they feel isn't a capable starter. The 2015 NFL Draft isn't deep with proven passers, but there is plenty of potential in the arms of pro-style disciples like Colorado State's Garrett Grayson or Oregon State's Sean Mannion (to name two).
The Broncos will decide quickly, because Manning's time is short and the fanbase has developed a taste for winning during the last few seasons. After this weekend, we should finally know something else about Osweiler.