Name: Paxton Lynch
Height: 6'7" Weight: 244
Age: 23 Experience: 2nd
The Denver Broncos entered the 2016 NFL Draft in search for their quarterback of the future after Brock Osweiler signed a mega deal with the Houston Texans and Peyton Manning retired. They nearly traded for then 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, but those trade talks broke down. So then Broncos General Manager John Elway set his sights on acquiring his quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Thankfully for the Broncos, Lynch was available a few picks before they were slated to pick, so the Broncos sent a third rounder and swapped first-rounders with the Seattle Seahawks to make sure Elway got the quarterback he wanted.
Elway wanted Lynch so bad that he started calling teams from pick 17 on down to gauge their interest in making a trade.
"Yes," the Broncos' general manager said when asked whether they arrived at the UCHealth Training Center on Thursday targeting University of Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. "We worked the phones from noon on today to try to find where we could slide in."
Elway got his man, but Lynch entered the league very raw and likely wasn’t going to contribute right away for the Broncos. He spent the 2016 season backing up starter Trevor Siemian but did get two starts in. In two starts(and another few quarters in relief of Siemian) Lynch totaled 497 yards passing, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also had a completion percentage of 59% and a quarterback rating of 79.2
While Lynch had some flashes during his rookie year, he showed he had long ways to go this offseason before he could push for the Broncos starting gig.
Lynch had to put in the work to improve his craft and that is exactly what he did this offseason. He worked out with quarterback guru Charlie Taaffe this offseason to work on his footwork and mechanics.
All that hard work Lynch put in this offseason with Taaffe really paid off because he looked like a completely different quarterback this spring. His mechanics looked better, his footwork looked better, he showed better poise and was much more confident in himself and his ability. This has led to Lynch to really close the gap between he and 2016 starter Trevor Siemian.
All this work and added confidence has Lynch feeling very comfortable with Mike McCoy’s offense as they head towards Training Camp.
“I’m very comfortable in where I am now that all the concepts are put in. There are still wrinkles going in every now and again, but where I’m at right now with what we’ve put in, I’m very confident in. I feel like the more reps I’m getting, the more I get to go with [WRs] ‘D.T.’ [Demaryius Thomas] and ‘E’ [Emmanuel Sanders] in that first group. I think the more confident I get, the more comfortable I get.”
Now Lynch will head into Training Camp neck and neck with 2016 starter Trevor Siemian. As 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis said recently, this quarterback battle is more about Lynch’s development than anything.
But this competition is more about finding out if Lynch can be better for the ultimate quest of winning a Super Bowl. Perhaps the best way to describe Lynch’s development is he remains a work in progress. He is somewhere between the magnificent OTA practice he had Monday and the inaccurate throws posted on Will Parks’ Instagram.
This basically states what I have thought all along, this is Paxton Lynch’s job to lose. If he continues to make strides and continues to improve, it is his likely his job. If not, the Broncos know what they have in Siemian and can turn to him. So it all the pressure is on Lynch this summer.
Lynch has all the physical tools you look for in a quarterback. He’s tall and can see over the offensive lineman and see the entire field. He also has a rocket arm to make every throw(if his mechanic aren’t all wonky) and has plus athleticism to extend the play and take off running when the opportunity presents itself. This appears to be the quarterback mold that General Manager John Elway prefers.
In limited action last year Lynch proved his decision making on the field was pretty good. He was throwing to the open receiver or finding his check down and such. Now his mechanics were all over the place so the outcome was not what we wanted, but at least he was seeing the field well.
Paxton Lynch had pick-6 to Taurean Nixon, then the very next play he strikes deep for 40+ yard TD, shakes off bad plays quickly @1043TheFan— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) June 13, 2017
As Head Coach Vance Joseph stated multiple times this spring, what will be key to the quarterbacks and the entire offense is how they react to adversity. This is something that Lynch has shown he can do multiple times this spring. If there’s a bad play, a turnover or something like that he has returned with multiple big plays in response.
“That’s a part of the process. That’s been a thing that we talked about the last week; about how to overcome adversity and how to turn one bad play into a positive. That’s part of playing quarterback. It’s going to be adversity every game. How we come out of it every game—how we come out of it as an offense total—is important.”
If Lynch continues to do that this summer, it would only help his case to become the Broncos starting quarterback.
If you're smart, you already laid money in Paxton Lynch being the #Broncos starter this year.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) June 5, 2017
What also helps Lynch is Mike McCoy’s offense. It really plays towards Lynch’s strengths and does things he did while at Memphis.
“For me, it’s pretty different. I feel like it fits more of how I play. I’m more comfortable in it and there is a little bit more similarities to what I did at Memphis compared to what I had to do last year. Obviously at practice we’ve gotten into the gun a little more than last year, which is more comfortable to me because I’ve been doing it for a long time. Last year was my first getting under center. The reps that I got last year and the time that I got to play, now coming into OTAs this year, I think I’ve made pretty good strides.”
Instead of trying to fit Lynch into an offensive scheme like last year, it appears that Mike McCoy is building around his strengths. He has a history of this and hopefully, it pays off this year.
It all comes down to his mechanics and footwork. This was evident in his start against the Jacksonville Jaguars. His mechanics looked all over the place, his confidence was lacking, and he just was thinking more than just playing. He appears to have that confidence and comfort back this offseason, but the mechanics and footwork are likely still a work in progress.
Turnovers are going to be an issue for Lynch, especially early on. He’s aggressive, has a big arm, and likes taking shots down field. That’s the recipe for big plays and some head scratchers. Look at Jay Cutler, Brett Favre, Cam Newton, Joe Flacco and other big-armed quarterbacks. So while the big plays will be great, the turnovers will likely be an unfortunate side effect, especially for a young and inexperienced quarterback.
Finally, I think we will see him take off too quickly at times. This is also something you see from young quarterbacks with plus athleticism. If their first or second read isn’t there, they take off. Sometimes it works, other times it leads to a sack, strip sack, or something awful like that. Lynch strides well for a big man and covers a good bit of distance, so I’m sure we will see that happen as well. Another side effect of that is of course injuries. Lynch must protect himself when taking off. He’s a big target with long legs so I hope he knows how to slide.
Paxton Lynch highlights:
Paxton Lynch’s roster spot is locked in, but his role will be the big storyline this summer once Training Camp opens.
Lynch is competing against 2016 starter Trevor Siemian for the starting quarterback job. Both will have a chance to win the job this summer, but as I have said prior, it is Lynch’s job to lose.
That doesn’t mean he will win it, but if he does what he is asked and continues to make strides, have good practices, and at least keep it close with Siemian, he’ll be the guy. If not, the Broncos can turn to Siemian, someone they know who can steer the ship if called on.
It’s going to be an important summer for Paxton Lynch.
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