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Broncos saw enough to give QB Trevor Siemian a fresh start

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- There is a scouting adage as old as football itself, that when in doubt, do your homework, grind the video and in the end, "trust your eyes."

When the Denver Broncos scanned the available quarterbacks they believed would be available down the draft board in their search for a developmental prospect, their collective gaze eventually stopped on Northwestern's Trevor Siemian.

"There was just something about the way he played, his footwork, his release, I liked the way he went about things," Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. "I went down to [quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp] and said, 'Let's take a look at this guy.'"

On the surface, Siemian's draft stock had taken a hit or two along the way. He had started just 14 games in his four seasons at Northwestern, suffered a torn left ACL last November and at the time of his injury had thrown more interceptions (11) than touchdown passes (seven).

Siemian split snaps in his sophomore and junior seasons with the Wildcats. The team went just 5-7 this past season, and Siemian took his share of pounding in an offense that surrendered 34 sacks. However, Wildcats coaches lauded Siemian's approach as well as his attitude while playing in a platoon system with Kain Colter in 2012 and 2013.

"We looked at him on tape and as far as the quarterback position, he plays well, his feet, his technique and everything that he can do is pretty darn good," Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway said. "... So we really felt that he has some upside because of where he was and where he starts and his ability to understand the game of football."

The Broncos invited Siemian to their suburban Denver complex as one of their pre-draft visits and they also dispatched Knapp to the Northwestern campus to see the quarterback go through a limited workout in early April.

"I just threw during my pro day," Siemian said. "That was a little more than four months out of surgery, so I wasn't cleared to do much more than that. That's kind of all I was able to do at that time."

Elway has consistently said he believes the team should take a long look at choosing a quarterback in the draft every year. And the Broncos have used three picks on quarterbacks in the five drafts during Elway's tenure: Brock Osweiler in 2012, Zac Dysert in 2013 and now Siemian.

At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Siemian fits much of the physical profile Elway likes in quarterbacks. The Broncos also like his economical delivery with a release of the ball that's quicker than most.

They liked it all enough to use a seventh-round pick on him Saturday despite the fact that Siemian is still continuing his rehab. He is expected to attend the Broncos' rookies-only minicamp next weekend.

"Greg Knapp went out and worked him out there, got to know him and felt good about him," Elway said. "Obviously if his numbers were a lot better, we wouldn't have had the opportunity to get him [in the seventh round], so we felt fortunate to get him in the seventh."

For Siemian, it's a chance to launch himself into the NFL after a collegiate career that, after being a heralded recruit for the Wildcats, wasn't quite what he hoped it would be. He topped 60 percent passing in just one season (his sophomore year) and his only season as the unquestioned starter ended with his ACL injury.

"I think the name of the game at quarterback is consistency," Siemian said. "I would say I've done a better job at that at certain points of my career. I would definitely not contribute that to a lack of preparation or anything like that. I think I would put myself in the position to go into games and get the job done. ... I think it's an unreal opportunity. I think not just Peyton Manning, but Brock Osweiler has been in the league four or five years ... [it] is kind of an ideal scenario for a guy like me who's trying to develop and is looking for each day to improve. Like I said, I can't think of a better scenario."