By Dillon Tabish, 5-03-12
||Caption: Brock Osweiler poses with NFL Hall of Fame quarterback and Denver team official John Elway after being drafted. - Photo courtesy Brock Osweiler
Reality is still sinking in for Brock Osweiler, who three years after graduating from Flathead High School is now a quarterback for a storied NFL franchise and working alongside two of the greatest signal callers ever.
"It's all pretty surreal," he said in a conference call Thursday, less than a week after being drafted by the Denver Broncos. "I'm so fortunate to be going to a great situation."
Osweiler, 22, is fulfilling a dream he's had ever since growing up in the Flathead Valley, standing in knee-deep snow tossing a football at a target, focused on playing professional football.
"My entire life, my soul vision, since I was 7-8 years old, was to be a quarterback in the NFL," he said.
Today, he's playing for one of his home state's favorite franchises.
"I could not be any happier with the situation I'm going to and the city I'm going to," he said. "It's such a special opportunity."
The Broncos, under the guidance of former NFL great John Elway, the team's executive vice president of football operations, had their eye on Osweiler. After Osweiler announced he would forego his senior year at Arizona State University, Denver was one of the first teams to contact him. Elway and head coach John Fox talked extensively with Osweiler at the NFL Combine. By draft time the Broncos were trading around picks and positioning themselves to be able to take Osweiler with the 57th overall pick.
He said he wasn't very surprised to get a phone call from Denver last Friday night. Immediately after the pick was announced, Elway expressed his excitement about landing the 6-foot-7 quarterback.
"Mr. Elway's been great," Osweiler said. "He has full confidence in me and that's why he said he drafted me. He sees a very bright future for me."
Osweiler said the former Bronco great shared some lasting advice in one of their first conversations since the NFL Draft.
"He basically just told me 'embrace the situation, have fun with it but work your tail off. If you continue the work ethic you showed at ASU, you'll be just fine,'" Osweiler said. "I can only thank him for putting me in the situation I'm in, to be able to sit behind a future Hall of Fame quarterback and pick his brain every day."
Osweiler said he looks forward to learning from one of the game's best – Peyton Manning. Manning joined the Broncos this offseason, making the team an immediate contender. Denver has one other quarterback on the depth chart, 26-year-old Caleb Hanie.
Osweiler said the challenges he faces right away will be learning Denver's complex offense, which centers around a quarterback like Manning who constantly reads defenses at the line of scrimmage and makes changes accordingly. Nevertheless, Osweiler is relishing the challenge ahead.
"My job sitting behind Peyton is not only to push him and get him prepared for each game each week, but also to learn from him on a daily basis," Osweiler said. "It's not his job to babysit me or pass the torch. It's my job to be looking over his shoulder and learn from him and find out why he's so great."
Osweiler said he's been working on his throwing motion and training in preparation for the upcoming rookie mini camp.
And as he arrives on the big stage of the NFL, he doesn't seem to forget where he came from.
"Kalispell is truly the place that shaped me into the person I am today," he said. "Kalispell taught me my work ethic and my determination. A lot of that credit goes to my parents, but also the good old Flathead Valley."
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