All night long, Denver Broncos fans suspect that the further Paxton Lynch fell the more likely John Elway would jump up to draft him. It happened when the Seattle Seahawks moved back to give the Broncos the 26th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Probably the best part of this trade was that it happened at the very moment when the Dallas Cowboys began an attempt to move up as well in order to grab Lynch, which means the Broncos played it as perfectly as a team could play it to land their guy.
For that reason alone, I would give the Broncos first round grade an 'A'. However, the fact that the Broncos also nabbed their quarterback of the future also plays a significant role in that 'A' grade. From this moment forward, Elway can focus purely on drafting the best talent available and he has eight more draft picks to do exactly that.
This is how champions handle the NFL Draft.
Broncos Draft Grades
26. Denver Broncos - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
The Broncos get their quarterback. Leading up to the draft, the best comparison for Lynch was Brock Osweiler. From a tools standpoint, he should fit fine in Denver's offense. It's just a matter of how fast he can adapt to the NFL game. This is about the proper range for Lynch to come off the board.
Lynch pick. Grade: B+. Elway gets it. Kid has talent— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) April 29, 2016
Draft pick: Paxton Lynch (No. 26 overall)
Day 1 grade: B+
The skinny: Lynch has work to do to become an NFL quarterback, but why not take a chance when you've got an amazing defense? If the Broncos force him onto the field, though, it will hurt his development. The only question is whether Connor Cook turns out to be just as good, and the Broncos wouldn't have had to give up a third-round pick to get him.
26. DENVER BRONCOS
Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
After losing Brock Osweiler to the Texans in free agency, the Broncos traded up with the Seahawks to take the most Osweiler-y quarterback in this draft class. Lynch stands 6' 7" and weighs 235 pounds, but he's very mobile, and his familiarity with boot action concepts makes him a perfect fit for what Gary Kubiak wants to do. Lynch may need a year or so to learn the complexities of the NFL game, but he might be put on an accelerated track with a somewhat simplified version of the Broncos' scheme.
Denver Broncos (Pick No. 26)
Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Chief roster architect John Elway didn’t panic when Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler exited in free agency. He took his time. He explored possible trades involving Colin Kaepernick and Sam Bradford and found them too expensive. He traded earlier for Mark Sanchez and when he had his chance Thursday night to trade up to draft Lynch, he seized the opportunity. Maybe the Broncos still have another QB move in them; maybe they don’t. But Elway has given the team an intriguing prospect for the future and a temporary starter if needed. Grade: A
26. Denver Broncos: Paxton Lynch | Grade: B
(Pick acquired in trade with Seattle Seahawks)
The Broncos came into the draft in desperation mode at the quarterback position and they made the move to get their guy in Lynch. He was our top-graded QB when rolling out — a key part of head coach Gary Kubiak’s offense — and he’s continued to progress every year since he was a freshman. His +30.5 overall grade ranked seventh in the draft class and there are certainly things to like about his game. His 70.3 percent accuracy percentage when pressured led the class, and he did a nice job of taking care of the ball in the passing game.
The questions Lynch has to answer surround his ability to play from the pocket and get through his progressions on a snap-to-snap basis. The Memphis offense featured a lot of screens and he only threw three passes beyond 40 yards in the air (though he completed two of them). Lynch has flashed many of the necessary skills to be a good NFL quarterback, but it’s all about doing them more consistently at this point.