Like every other team in the NFL, the Denver Broncos are battling many fronts during the 2021 season.
Not only is it a weekly battle to remain healthy, as injuries continue to mount in Denver, but there’s a daily war of attrition among all NFL rosters with the threat of Covid-19 still a reality.
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Broncos Add Former Patriots Draft Pick
Both the Broncos’ quarterback room and the coaching room have been affected by the coronavirus in recent weeks, so Paton did the prudent thing and signed quarterback Danny Etling to the practice squad, per a tweet posted by his agency, JL Sports.
The signing comes on the eve of Denver’s Week 10 home tilt, as Denver 9News’ Mike Klis tweeted that the former LSU player, by way of Purdue, cleared the Covid testing protocol.
The move was certainly — and understandably — precautionary by Paton since both backup quarterback Drew Lock and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will miss the November 14 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. Lock missed the November 7 upset win over the Dallas Cowboys following his positive test, and will likely miss the Eagles game as well.
Etling has yet to throw a pass during his career in the regular season, but given the depth issues at quarterback with Denver — and there’s precedence that just about anyone can line under center for the Broncos — the future is wide open for the 2018 draftee.
A seventh-round draft pick of the New England Patriots, Etling has bounced around the NFL since leaving LSU. He was most recently on the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad, which was his second stint with the franchise in his career (2020 and 2021) — and the third time affiliated with an NFL team, this season, including his most recent addition to the Broncos. In between the Seahawks and Broncos, Etling also spent time with the Minnesota Vikings and the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Etling also spent 2019 with the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Etling is considered a dual-threat quarterback, with decent speed, having run the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds at his 2018 NFL Draft Combine. He entered Perdue University prior to the start of the 2013 season as a four-star recruit for services like Rivals.com, ESPN, and 247 Sports. He later transferred to LSU prior to the 2015 season, but was forced to sit out a season under the NCAA transfer rules.
Etling’s collegiate career wasn’t necessarily distinguished, but he was a solid contributor for both programs. His biggest success came as a Tiger, where as a two-year contributor, Etling totaled 4,586 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, and seven interceptions in 24 appearances. Prior to that, he notched 2,490 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions at Purdue over 13 games.
The Broncos may never need the services of Etling — and Broncos Country probably hopes that is true. But should Etling be called up to the active 53-man roster, and thrown into the fire in a pinch, he could be used in creative manners, as he also dabbled at wide receiver with the Patriots during their 2019 training camp.
Follow Tony Williams on Twitter: @TBone8