Prior to the 2016 NFL Draft, there were really only two quarterbacks high on the Denver Broncos rumor list. One was Paxton Lynch and the other was Dak Prescott. The rumor at the time suggested that John Elway could target Prescott in the second or third rounds, if they didn't get the quarterback they had a first round grade on.
That is well before the Dallas Cowboys ultimately selected Prescott way back in the fourth round.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports broke down the Prescott pick on Monday and at the very end of his column discussed what could have happened had the Cowboys been able to pull the trigger to move up to select Lynch instead of the Broncos.
The "where else?" question is interesting because nobody really knows. In the personnel world, everyone is guessing everyone else’s poker hand when it comes to the NFL draft. But a number of evaluators believe if they were reading the landscape correctly that the Denver Broncos ultimately would have taken Prescott if they hadn’t pulled off the trade to land Lynch in the first round. Prescott spent time with the Broncos, who also did a fair amount of work on him at Mississippi State. All of which is an amazing twist in hindsight since it was Denver’s trade with the Seattle Seahawks (and the Cowboys refusing to pull trigger on it first) that ultimately began a chain of events that delivered Lynch to the Broncos and then ultimately finished with Prescott landing in Dallas.
In essence, the two quarterback situations could easily be reversed right now, with Lynch starting in Dallas and Prescott on the bench (or even starting) with the Broncos.
"I know [Broncos head coach] Gary Kubiak liked Dak," one personnel evaluator said. "I know [Broncos general manager] John Elway also liked Dak. … He fit right into what they were looking for. Maybe they don’t take him until later [in the draft], but I don’t think Dak Prescott would have ever made it to the fourth round if Denver didn’t get Paxton first. … I’m convinced he was somewhere in [Denver’s] backup plan."
It's a curious 'what if'. I remain convinced that Prescott would not be having the success he is having behind most other offensive lines in the NFL. The reason being he ranks 40th out of 44 quarterbacks in time to throw. Behind most offensive lines, he'd get slaughtered in those situations.
Likely, Paxton Lynch would be having a Rookie of the Year kind of season and Prescott would be on the bench supporting Trevor Siemian in Denver.
Such is the luck of the draft for players in the NFL.