Measurables: 6-foot-3, 221 pounds.
2014 stats: N/A *practice squad.
Zac Dysert’s collegiate career at the University of Miami (OH) was prolific. As a four-year starter, he accumulated 12,013 passing yards, 73 touchdowns and 51 interceptions and left the college ranks as his school’s all-time leading signal-caller, which is impressive, considering that Miami (OH) is Ben Roethlisberger’s alma mater.
Dysert is the only player in school history to be elected a team captain three times. His above average athleticism truly shows in the 665 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns he added to his college stats.
This production put him on the radar of the Denver Broncos, who spent a 2013 seventh round pick on him. As a rookie, Dysert came in on the heels of Brock Osweiler, who was drafted in the second round the year before.
The two youngsters battled it out behind Peyton Manning in training camp. Dysert’s performances in 2013’s preseason games were arguably more impressive than Osweiler’s. But draft pedigree won out when the dust settled. Osweiler was No. 2.
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Surprisingly, however, the Broncos chose to keep Dysert on the final 53-man roster, because his preseason performance was good enough that they were worried they’d lose him on waivers to another quarterback-needy team.
Of course, he didn’t dress for a single game. In last season’s training camp and preseason, Osweiler’s talent and experience in the system began to show itself, as he clearly out-played Dysert. When the Broncos trimmed their roster down to the final 53 guys, Dysert was on the outside looking in. He spent the year on the practice squad.
However, with the coaching changes that have taken place in Denver this offseason, and the addition of yet another quarterback procured from the draft (seventh round pick Trevor Siemian), Dysert’s place with the team is in question.
Dysert was drafted to be another developmental quarterback to groom behind Manning. Knowing that Manning’s remaining time with the team is finite, John Elway has made it a priority to keep the cupboard well-stocked at quarterback.
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But the head coach has input on decisions made in the draft, and the staff that was in town when Dysert was drafted is now in Chicago. Dysert will have to compete hard this year to impress Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison.
The good news for Dysert is that he is a scheme fit for Kubiak’s zone system. His athleticism should serve him well in the rollouts and bootlegs the Broncos will run. Dysert has never been the most accurate of passers, but he’s made up for it with a strong arm and playmaking ability.
He has experience playing under center, although it’s been quite a while since he was called upon to do so. Also, his accuracy significantly improves when he throws on the run, which should help him assimilate into Kubiak’s scheme even more.
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At this stage, it’s unclear how many quarterbacks the Broncos will keep on the final roster. Knowing Kubiak’s history, I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept three, but it really is unnecessary, considering that they could always call one up from the practice squad, if they got in a tight spot in-season. They should use that roster spot on a more useful position.
One thing helping Dysert’s cause this season is that Siemian is still recovering from an ACL injury suffered late last season while at Northwestern. If Siemian’s progress is slow, the Broncos could choose to essentially redshirt him and place him on injured reserve, which would give them practice squad options with Dysert.
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