Denver Broncos QB Situation: Tim Tebow's Possible Replacements
Tim Tebow has exceeded expectations in Denver this season, winning four of his first five starts and putting Denver in the thick of the AFC West Title race.
But Elway, Denver's Executive VP of Football Operations, remains steadfast in his belief that Tebow is not the answer long-term.
The recent release of veteran quarterback Kyle Orton means nothing for Tebow. In winning four of five starts, the former Florida star has earned the right to finish the season as the starter.
After this season, however, Tebow's future is bleak. Elway and the rest of Broncos' management will almost certainly look to find a long term solution at quarterback in this year's draft.
Here are the most likely candidates to get the starting job in Denver next season.
4. Andrew Luck
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The consensus No. 1 quarterback prospect in this year's draft, Luck's stock has taken a hit over the past two weeks due to two mediocre performances—by his standards, of course.
Regardless, the Stanford signal-caller is a can't miss, surefire franchise quarterback. Many believe he's the best prospect at the position since Peyton Manning.
Elway, a Stanford grad, would love for Luck to take over the helm next season.
Unfortunately for Denver, Indy has the suck-for-luck race wrapped up. The only way the Broncos could get Luck in this year's draft would be through a trade, in which they'd likely have to give up something in the vicinity of three first round picksperhaps even more.
3. Robert Griffin
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Although Elway was spotted at the Oklahoma-Baylor game Saturday with general manager Brian Xanders, he likely wasn't focusing on Robert Griffin III.
The Baylor dual-threat sensation has established himself as a bona fide first-round prospect. His combination of speed, agility, and passing ability are second to none.
RGIII is Michael Vick with a pocket-passer's mentality, Cam Newton only faster. The superlatives are endless.
But Elway currently has a running quarterback starting for his team. Although Tebow isn't even in the same class as Griffin skill-wise, the Baylor star would bring similar elements to Denver's offense.
Elway wants a conventional pocket-passer under center. Someone who resembles John Elway.
2. Matt Barkley
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No QB in the nation has been as impressive as Barkley over the past few weeks.
In USC's 38-35 upset of Oregon on Saturday, the junior threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns with just one interception. This came just one week after Luck struggled against the same Ducks defense.
He fits Elway's mold as a prototypical pocket passer. What's more, Barkley has run a pro-style offense for three full seasons. Thrust into the spotlight as a true freshman, Barkley has kept the Trojans respectable despite the lack of motivation for postseason play.
An impressive performance against UCLA Saturday will secure Barkley's status as a top ten pick.
If the Broncos continue to win and challenge Oakland/San Diego for the division title, they won't have a shot at Barkley. Unless, of course, they pull off a draft-day trade.
Barkley is blonde-haired West Coast guy, just like Elway himself. This is a quarterback I can see Elway wanting to lead his franchise in the future. But the question is, will he be available come draft day?
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Elway and Xanders witnessed Jones in a losing effort on Saturday, but the Oklahoma signal-caller still put up an impressive 447 yards—albeit against a below-average Baylor defense.
The Sooners' co-captain has also been impressive in tough games this season, including a 23-13 road victory against then-No. 5 Florida State.
Since that victory, Jones has never thrown for less than 250 yards this season. Running Bob Stoops' offense to perfection, Jones has been compared to former OU star Sam Bradford.
Although Jones possesses the stronger arm, Bradford is the more accurate and more complete quarterback.
Yet, Jones is the prototypical pocket-passer that Elway desires. What's more, Jones may actually be around for the Broncos to take with their first-round pick.
Although it may still require some draft-day dealing, Denver would certainly be willing to sacrifice a few picks in order to get their quarterback of the future.
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Texas A & M's starter has above average speed and athleticism for the position. But the former wide receiver isn't a sexy pick. Elway needs to make a splash here.
Only kidding. Elway would have to give up the entirety of his next two drafts in order to land Manning. But if Tim Tebow won four or five games with this team, imagine what Manning could do.