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At Combine, Broncos pass on formal interviews with 'Big 4' QBs

According to a team source, the Broncos will only formerly interview two quarterbacks at the NFL Combine: Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham and West Virginia's Will Grier.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos general manager John Elway speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS — There have been signs all offseason the Broncos won’t take a quarterback with their No. 10 overall draft pick in the first round.

Acquiring Joe Flacco was hint No. 1.

Here’s another one: A team source told 9NEWS Broncos General Manager John Elway did not, and will not have formal NFL Combine interviews with any quarterback from the Big 4 in this year’s draft class.

The Big 4 include Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones. They may have had informal interviews with Broncos’ assistant coaches, but they were not on the Elway list of 60, 15-minute “formal” interviews.

“No, I have not met with the Broncos,’’ Kyler Murray said at his press conference Friday.

According to the team source, the Broncos will only formerly interview two quarterbacks at the NFL Combine: Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham and West Virginia's Will Grier.

The two might have been considered first-round quarterbacks at one time last year, but they are now projected to go anywhere between the second and fifth rounds.

Stidham is 6-foot-2 3/8 and 218 pounds. Grier is 6-foot-2 1/2 and 217 pounds. Stidham, who turns 23 in August, had a terrific sophomore season two years ago, completing 66.5 percent of his passes while registering 3,158 yards and 18 touchdowns against six interceptions for the 10-4 Tigers.

He slipped slightly last year as a junior, going 8-5 with a 60.7 completion percentage for 2,794 yards and 18 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Grier, who will turn 24 in April, had bigger stats for the pass-happy Mountaineers. In his last two years there, he completed 65.7 percent of his passes for an average of 3,677 yards and 36 touchdowns against 10 interceptions.

The Big Four and the other QBs conducted their combine interviews with the press Friday. Drew Lock, at times, may have crossed the line from confident to cocky.

“I think one of the things I do is I make plays out of the pocket,’’ said Lock, who was a freshman when Broncos offensive lineman Connor McGovern was a senior. “I’m not just a simple guy who’s going to stand in there and take shots. I’m going to be able to get out of the pocket when the pocket breaks down. I’m going to be a little more athletic than probably some people might peg me as with some of the drills we do out here. I’m kind of excited to be able show that to people.’’

Lock was asked about his game against Arkansas last November when Elway, Broncos’ director of player personnel Matt Russell and then front-office consultant Gary Kubiak came out to personally watch. Lock completed 16 of 25 for 221 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in difficult weather conditions to help Missouri clobber Arkansas, 38-0.

“Yeah, I actually didn’t know he was there at the time,’’ Lock said of Elway. “So it probably helped a little bit, put a little less pressure on the game. I had no idea, but I appreciated him coming out there and giving me a little respect for the game, especially because of who he is. He’s one of the best of all time and to be able to, in his eyes, look at me as a guy who might be able to take over his franchise, that means a lot to me.’’

Haskins, Murray and Jones were soft-spoken and confident. They were all asked what separates them from the others.

“I feel like I’m a top quarterback,’’ said Haskins. “I just have to do what I do. I’m not trying to spin it. It speaks for itself.’’

“I think my toughness is my biggest strength," said Jones. "Through my career at Duke, I've dealt with whatever it was, but physically I've proven my toughness, I believe. I think my intelligence and my ability to process information is a strength of mine as well. I think my will to compete separates me as well. I think those three things will make me successful in the NFL.’’

“I love the game, but more importantly, the mental side of the game is definitely something where I feel unmatched. That’s just the way I feel,” said Murray. 

After the combine and free agency, the Broncos will have 30 additional personal visits at the team headquarters between late March and early April. It would be a surprise if Haskins and Lock, who most fit Elway’s QB profile, are not brought in for interviews at the UCHealth Training Center.

But with the Broncos acquiring Flacco in a trade and possibly wanting Case Keenum to take a pay cut and demotion to backup quarterback, it’s unlikely Elway will use his No. 10 pick on a quarterback.

Maybe later in the Stidham-Grier rounds.