Woo Hoo, Broncos Country!
The 2016 NFL Draft is finally under way, and now that the first-round pick is in the books with Memphis Quarterback Paxton Lynch, the quarterback rumors/controversy is finally over too (at least until preseason!)
Now, I don't want to brag too much here (I'll leave that to Scotty, who is beyond ecstatic over this pick!), but I did mention three weeks ago that Lynch was my choice for the Broncos "QB of the future" and said so again in Christopher Hart's excellent round table draft series yesterday.
Elway: Lynch "fits us perfectly."— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) April 29, 2016
So it was reassuring no doubt that John Elway felt the same way and moved up so the Broncos could make my pick (TYJE)!
But it was even more reassuring to hear all the reasons why Elway and Gary Kubiak like Lynch so much - and more importantly why this move is good for the Broncos as well as the young quarterback:
1. Good team for developing quarterbacks
With Lynch's athleticism, height, big arm and ability to run the play-action and bootleg, Lynch will be an ideal candidate in the Kubiak offense. But it's no mystery Lynch's talent is pretty raw and will need a lot of refining and developing. That's why the Broncos are a perfect fit for Lynch and vice versa. Kubiak and his staff pride themselves in being teachers, and they will take the time to work with Lynch to improve his game.
Plus, the head coach sees Lynch's weaknesses as only temporary and very improvable. "We saw him do all of the things that we want him to do from a movement standpoint -- playing out of the gun, throwing the ball out of the pocket, getting up under center, moving, those types of things," Kubiak said.
Kubiak: "He's coming to a good football team. He needs to stay focused on his job ... Our team will embrace him."— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) April 29, 2016
2. An inexperienced quarterback needs a strong defense to pull more weight
With most of our stacked championship defense returning, the Broncos have the luxury of not needing the best quarterback in the world but just needing a guy who can run the offense (and not turning over the ball helps too!) while the defense takes care of business.
And if Elway can keep pulling in great depth on defense, we all know what Wade Phillips can do with it, so this defense has the potential to be great for many seasons to come - giving our quarterbacks time to be who we will eventually need them to be.
3. New quarterbacks need mentors
Being drafted to the position that requires leadership and respect is not an easy one to jump right into because it takes time to develop rapport with your players while also getting a handle on the playbook.
Enter Mark Sanchez. Sanchez was brought on to compete for the starting job on his own quarterbacking skills - which hasn't changed - but you have to know Elway was also thinking ahead to when he might need to draft a young quarterback who would need some grooming by a solid veteran with both experience and leadership skills.
It's no Peyton Manning, but it is an excellent opportunity for Lynch to learn from a pro.
And good competition never hurt anyone.
"They're all going to compete," Kubiak said Thursday night. "The great thing about our situation right now with Mark and Trevor and of course Paxton now - €”they're all coming up together. Even though Mark is a veteran player, he's new in our system. So the growth together will be a good situation for all three of them."
Kubiak pointed out there are no givens on the starting player at quarterback.
"Everybody competes, and I'm expecting him to come in here and make up some ground really quick," Kubiak said of Lynch. "But I think it's a great group to go to work with. I know Greg Knapp and Rick Dennison are very excited about him, so we've got to make up as much ground as we can."
4. Financial sense for the Broncos
Drafting Lynch - and therefore extinguishing all notions of going after Colin Kaepernick and his guaranteed $11 million salary or Bradford's guaranteed $22 million - is a huge boost to the Broncos' cap space.
The #Broncos just saved $63M on a QB with 7 fewer starts.— Damon Amendolara (@DAonCBS) April 29, 2016
Andrew Mason reported that last year's No. 26 overall pick signed a four-year deal worth approximately $8.7 million/year and a $2.1 million salary cap hit. Mason added that given those similar numbers for this year, Lynch's average cap value would be around $2.4 million, which is $13.5 million less than the reported offer to Osweiler, and $15.5 million below his average annual value in the Houston contract.
So what better way to come into the NFL than heralded as the future leader but minus unrealistic expectations and plus a Super Bowl-winning defense? All while keeping the Broncos' cap low enough to sign some other players (cough Von Miller cough).
Can you say "winning?"
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