Scouting Denver Broncos QB prospect target Kaleb Eleby

SYRACUSE, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Kaleb Eleby #5 of the Western Michigan Broncos warms up before the game against the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome on September 21, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse defeats Western Michigan 52-33. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
SYRACUSE, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Kaleb Eleby #5 of the Western Michigan Broncos warms up before the game against the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome on September 21, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse defeats Western Michigan 52-33. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

With buzz swarming around the Denver Broncos being interested in former Western Michigan quarterback, Kaleb Eleby, it is time to take a look at the 6-foot-1, 210-pound prospect.

As of February 25, 2022, Drew Lock and Brett Rypien are the current quarterbacks on the Denver Broncos roster. Surely that is expected to change, when it does, will it be in the form of the Denver Broncos adding a developmental day three prospect like Kaleb Eleby?

According to KOA Insider Benjamin Allbright, Denver Broncos fans may want to start looking at the day-three prospect.

Even if the Denver Broncos trade for Aaron Rodgers, I am still enamored with this idea. When I mentioned this scenario previously, I got the question of, “why would Aaron Rodgers want this when he was noticeably upset when the Green Bay Packers drafted Jordan Love?”

Well, it is quite simple really. While a lot of this season will be dependent upon acquiring an elite quarterback, Aaron Rodgers will not be around forever. That is even if general manager George Paton is able to swing a trade for him.

I’d project Rodgers will be playing for two more years, three max. Also, if Rodgers is threatened by adding a developmental prospect then he probably isn’t the right guy for the Denver Broncos anyway.

Kaleb Eleby would be an early-day-three prospect at the best, so it wouldn’t be like the Broncos would be burning a premiere pick by selecting him. This also provides Nathaniel Hackett and the coaching staff insurance behind Rodgers and Lock, especially when Drew Lock becomes a free agent in 2023.

Speaking of the coaching staff, Hackett brought in former Western Michigan Offensive Coordinator Jake Moreland to be his tight end coach, so if Moreland has some uplifting reviews on Eleby, this could be enticing to Hackett and Paton.

Kaleb Eleby would have at least a year to sit and learn the ropes of the NFL game if he gets selected by the Denver Broncos, whether it be a year behind Drew Lock and middling competition or a couple of years behind elite talent Aaron Rodgers.

Of course, there are positives and negatives with Eleby’s game. Even with top-tier prospects, there are flaws, that is even to be said with the elite professionals in today’s game.

Time for growth and development would be expected by drafting Eleby, but would could Eleby become if he reaches his ceiling?

An honest comparison would be Jalen Hurts.

His arm is not the strongest, but it is strong enough.

One of my favorite clips when watching Eleby, he stood patiently in the pocket, didn’t let his feet turn into bricks, stayed loose, hopped around, and continued to move the pocket without taking off to throw a dime for a touchdown that traveled about 55 air yards.

He’s got a thick lower build, and he is strong when he decides to run as well. He’s not as elusive as some of the more mobile quarterbacks, but his running style is more physical than it is finesse. Get up the field, get the first down, and run through a would-be tackler if possible.

This was good enough for short-yardage situations and helped him cross the pylon 13 times on the ground.

During his time at Western Michigan, Eleby threw for 6,068 yards, 45 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. That was good enough for a passer rating of 159.5 while completing 63.4 of his passes.

Some of his more impressive attributes would be his accuracy, anticipation, and he has the ability to sling it or throw a nice bucket ball. If you have watched Drew Lock over the past few years, you have seen what it is like when a quarterback struggles with touch and dropping balls in a bucket.

Many times we have seen Lock overshoot one of his receivers on a deep ball, whether it was due to much pepper on it or it just simply being off-target. That has not been one of my concerns when watching Eleby.

It is almost the opposite when watching Eleby. Most of his throws and deep passes seem to float, which could be a concern if it is due to his arm strength. But I don’t think that is the case for his deep shots, he has shown time and time again on tape that he has the mustard to rip it in a tight window.

Like a Drew Brees, Eleby can throw one heck of a slant. He’s not afraid to throw in tight windows and high-traffic areas.

Eleby is aggressive, much like Lock. It worked for him during his time with Western Michigan, but the NFL is a different animal. He gives his receivers chances and he trusts his guys, which after watching a year of Teddy Bridgewater attempt to play quarterback, this might be a sigh of relief for Broncos fans, even if it does result in some turnovers.

If Eleby were to become a member of the Denver Broncos, what would work in his favor is he has a couple of ultra-talented, big, strong receivers on the outside that can win a lot of muscle matchups with defensive backs.

However, one tendency that I do see in both Eleby and Lock is their notion to throw off-kilter. Sometimes this can be changed with the proper development, but one thing stays true, your foot must follow your eyes if you are intending to be an accurate passer. Unless you are an ungodly talent like Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, you need to have sound mechanics to last in the NFL.

That is when having a good coaching staff comes into play. If current quarterbacks coach, Klint Kubiak, can coach Eleby out of some of his off-balanced platforms, he could become that much better of a prospect.

Playing in the MAC, Eleby did face a bevy of weaker opponents.

Most of his prime performances came against some of the lesser programs like Northern Illinois and Kent State, but when the Broncos did play the Pittsburgh Panthers, he had one of his brightest days. He threw for over 300 yards, three touchdowns, and completed over 67% of his passes.

Kaleb Eleby outdueled potential first-round prospect Kenny Pickett in this showdown.

There were some moments in this game that were head-scratching. He missed a wide-open deep shot to speedster Ali Fayad. Early in the first quarter, he was also baited into a slant throw that was almost read and intercepted.

The pass was knocked down, but that is where I think Eleby shows an abundance of confidence in his arm, sometimes to his own fault.

In the Western Michigan offense, Eleby found himself in the gun for the majority of his snaps. There were also a ton of screens, bubbles, and fire concepts that got the ball out of Eleby’s hands quickly. Sometimes this shows an unrealistic inflation of completion percentage, just look at what the Denver Broncos had at quarterback last season.

Eleby has shown that he can be accurate, that he can make some tight-window throws. The question is, can he do it at the NFL level?

Can Eleby do it when there is an uptick of route combinations and route designs that require the quarterback to push the ball downfield more often than not? Will he be able to show progress in his footwork and mesh his feet with his eyes?

Some of this falls on the coaching staff that selects him, but it will also fall on Eleby to absorb information, and instill it into his current repertoire. I’m here for Eleby getting the chance to grow into something for the Denver Broncos, maybe George Paton will be too.