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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

John Elway: The Worst QB Scout in the NFL

Did the Broncos just become elite? Well, they did just trade for former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco so they have a chance… but the bigger storyline that this Flacco trade reveals is that John Elway is one of the worst quarterback evaluators in the league.

Looking at the guy’s track record, it’s undeniable. In his first year as an executive Elway inherited a less than ideal quarterback situation in Tim Tebow, who surprisingly led them to the playoffs. So he went out and got Peyton Manning which ultimately won them a super bowl. This was obviously a big-time move from Elway, but Manning was already a proven Hall of Famer, so how much credit should he get? Elway just had the best sales pitch. But when it came time to replace Manning, Elway’s inability to scout came full circle.

The first quarterback that Elway drafted during his regime was Brock Osweiler. Although “The Brocketship” shined during their Super Bowl run in 2015 throwing for 1,967 and 10 touchdowns, his track record in Houston cemented his spot in history as one of the most hilariously bad quarterbacks of all time. Elway just couldn’t quit Osweiler and brought him back in 2017 to be the backup but ended up benching seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian from Northwestern and starting Osweiler, where he led the team to a whopping 0-4 record. Sheesh.

Elway’s next quarterback blunder was a first-round pick; Paxton Lynch out of Memphis. This pick does not get enough attention for how categorically horrendous it was. The guy played four games in his entire career and threw for 792 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. Four games played for a first-round quarterback is absolutely bonkers. This is the type of pick that gets executives fired, but apparently not John Elway.

After the team moved on from Lynch, Elway signed Case Keenum to a two-year 36-million dollar deal. Keenum was mediocre at best for the Broncos, leading them to a 6-10 record. So after a year of that Elway decided to abandon the Keenum ship and sign Joe Flacco.

Really, John? Joe Flacco is the guy that is gonna save your franchise? The guy lost his job to Lamar Jackson who posted a 0.0 quarterback rating in the first half of the Ravens-Chargers playoff game. Flacco is more washed up then Blink-82. But who knows, maybe the altitude will resurrect Flacco’s eliteness.

John Elway is without a doubt one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. But when it comes to evaluating quarterbacks he is among the league’s worst. If any of other league executives had made the moves that Elway did, they would have been fired a long time ago. Being a great quarterback certainly does not make you a great evaluator of quarterbacks.  

If this experiment turns out poorly like most of Elway’s decisions, it will be clear to everyone out there that he is one of the worst quarterback scouts in the league. The Broncos ownership will have to take a hard look in the mirror and decide if John Elway is the man they want dictating the future of the franchise going forward.

-Jackson Parker

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