When John Elway wants a quarterback, John Elway gets a quarterback.
Prior to the 2014 NFL Draft, there were reports that the Broncos were going to hold a private workout for former North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Bryn Renner, a highly touted high school prospect who looked to be on his way to, at worst, a day two pick in the 2014 NFL Draft after a really strong finish to his junior season.
After really struggling in his senior season, he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury and was forced to essentially become another coach for a North Carolina squad that started 1-5 and actually ended up making it to a bowl game.
But like I said, Renner’s sophomore and junior seasons were good enough to get him a strong look from NFL teams, and the Broncos hand-picked him, similarly to the way they hand-picked Zac Dysert a year ago.
The older Peyton Manning gets, the more you have to start thinking about the future without him. I think the Broncos will continue to keep three quarterbacks on the active roster, but I also think they would be willing to hold one on the practice squad if they felt someone was good enough to keep around, and Renner has a chance to take that spot.
Here’s what you need to know about Renner, and how he can make the Broncos.
Wt: 228 lbs.
- Rhythmic thrower
- Shows nice touch on his passes
- Doesn’t force the issue a lot
- Comes from football bloodline (dad was player and coach)
- Understands off-field responsibilities in film study
- Has good command of the huddle
- Good leadership/character
- Makes all the short-intermediate throws
- Solid ability to avoid pressure
- Will throw the ball away if needed
- Played in a variety of offenses
- Student of the game
- Doesn’t have an overly strong arm
- Shoulder injuries
- Footwork is something he could work on
- Poor senior season before injury
- At times will struggle when first read is not available
How Renner Can Make the Denver Broncos
I think Renner is going to have to stick on with the Broncos as either the third quarterback and beat out Zac Dysert, or he’ll be a candidate to make the practice squad and continue to develop within the Broncos’ offense and pick Peyton Manning’s brain.
In an interview with our friends at With the First Pick, Renner discussed how he’d be the first person in the building and the last one out. This is a significant pickup because it’s one that John Elway and company made a conscious effort to get to know this kid before the draft, and work him out privately.
The Broncos don’t have a pressing need at the QB position but they want to create as much competition as possible. I think what Renner brings to the table is a guy who will come in, learn the system, compete, and at least provide a valuable clipboard holder even as a rookie and a guy who will study film from the perspective of a coach.
Down the road, I do think he has the potential to play some games in the NFL. There are guys year in and year out who surprise us by chalking up NFL starts, guys like T.J. Yates and Case Keenum, or even someone like Thad Lewis in Buffalo.
Renner was a guy that as a junior certainly looked like he had some starting NFL potential, but returning for his senior season shot down his draft stock. I had written a scouting report on Renner during the 2013 season over at NFL Mocks:
Renner is a part of a very good senior class of quarterbacks, and he’s been steadily and quietly improving every year he has been at Chapel Hill. He completed over 65 percent of his passes last year for 3,356 yards, 28 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions.
He isn’t a gunslinger by any means, but you can see that Renner has the ability to make any throw in the NFL, and he has the toughness to hang in the pocket and take a hit and get back up again. He shows nice touch on throws downfield, and looks like he’s capable of being an Andy Dalton type at the next level.
If he shows steady improvement in his senior season, I see no reason why Renner won’t be picked on the second day of the draft and be competing for a starting job in the NFL by 2015 or 2016.
I’ll be really interested to see how his situation develops, and how he fares in practices with the Broncos and in the film room will be key. If the Broncos feel like he can be a valuable contributor off the field as well as someone who can pick things up really quickly in studying opponents, he ought to earn a spot at least on the practice squad.