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Paul Klee: UNC's Kyle Sloter, the other guy in quarterback shuffle, brings brains to Broncos

By: Paul Klee
May 4, 2017 Updated: May 4, 2017 at 7:46 pm
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Kyle Sloter (Photo via University of Northern Colorado)

DENVER — This guy, Kyle Sloter? 

You want him on your Tuesday trivia team. Or on open mic comedy night. Or, if the Broncos quarterback situation gets even weirder than it already is — never say never, you know — in your huddle. 

Here, start with his Wonderlic score: 38. It would have ranked first at the NFL combine, if the quarterback from Northern Colorado had been invited to the NFL combine. Instead, he took the Wonderlic — a 50-question, timed test used by teams to assess how prospects operate under pressure — at their pro day. Sloter nailed it. His roommate, well, we should let Sloter tell it.

“I remember the question: ‘What is not a quadripeg mammal house pet: Giraffe, cat, mouse and dog?’” Sloter said. “He’s telling me he circled ‘mouse’ because a mouse is a rodent and not a mammal. I told him, ‘Dude, a giraffe isn’t a house pet. Do you know anyone with a giraffe?’”

Do you know any team with a more unusual quarterback room than the Broncos?

Trevor Siemian, Northwestern grad pitching Skittles. Paxton Lynch, power forward in a quarterback’s body. Chad Kelly, a most relevant Mr. Irrelevant.

And this guy, Sloter? 

His story is up there.

A 6-foot-4, 215-pound, undrafted free agent, Sloter signed a three-year contract with the Broncos. That, after a UNC press release evaluated the QB race in August, right before the season, thusly: “It’s really still a toss-up who will lead the offense at this point.” Last week Sloter scored his Finance degree from UNC. That, after he lost 45 credits when he transferred from Southern Miss. 

“I was pretty proud to pick up that degree,” Sloter said.

The Broncos told Sloter he’ll be the No. 3 quarterback, at least until Kelly returns from a knee injury in August or September. That, after Sloter spent the same amount of time in college at wide receiver as he did at quarterback  (2.5 seasons apiece). Next week he flies back to Colorado from his family’s home in Georgia to join the other Broncos rookies at Dove Valley. That, after he weighed an attractive job offer from Ashford Advisors, a financial advising firm. 

“I was going to take it. It was close,” Sloter said in a phone conversation. “I would be four or five months in, working for them, if things had gone according to the original plan.”

Plans change, as you may have noticed, with Broncos quarterbacks.

No one’s saying Sloter’s going to win the job, or make the 53-man roster when training camp is closed. But is anything impossible after Siemian, who nearly traded football for a real estate gig, beat out Lynch, a first-round pick, and Mark Sanchez, who played in a pair of AFC championship games? 

“I’m one of those guys who is definitely motivated by people who say I can’t do something. It’s something I never forget,” Sloter said. “I keep those people in the back of my mind.”

Sloter took calls from NFL teams during the draft, starting in the fifth round. Packers called. Raiders called. The Broncos called midway through the seventh round to say he was in play with the 253rd pick, where they snagged Kelly. So a guy who left training camp at Northern Colorado as the backup quarterback is entering Broncos camp with an NFL contract. Sloter last season threw 28 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, set UNC’s single-game passing record with 430 yards and, the year before, played on the kickoff unit. As a wide receiver, “I broke a rib during a spring game as a redshirt freshman. The (cornerback) was waiting for me, lit me up,” Sloter said. “Now I know where to expect my receivers because I knew where I was expected to be. It gave me great perspective from their viewpoint.”

Back to that Wonderlic score. Sloter previously got a 1740 on the SAT and carried a 3.6 GPA at Southern Miss. His Wonderlic — 38 — eclipsed those of all the QBs selected in the draft, according to reports, from DeShone Kizer (28) to Mitchell Trubisky (25) to Patrick Mahomes (24). What that means, I don’t know, aside from free jokes at his college teammate's expense.

“I mean, a giraffe? I told my roommate that’s probably why you got a 13,” Sloter said with a laugh. “My dad’s always wondered about my friends: 'Do you have any smart friends you hang out with?' Guess I can see what he’s saying.”

Twitter: @bypaulklee

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