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The wait to pick at No. 31 in the 2016 NFL Draft for the Denver Broncos and general manger John Elway was too long to handle. After reportedly looking for suitors throughout the first round, the Broncos traded pick 31 and one of two 2016 third-round picks (94th overall) with the Seattle Seahawks 26th overall pick with little time to spare Thursday night.
The Broncos selected Paxton Lynch, quarterback from Memphis University, with their sole first-round selection and was the third quarterback taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. As Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler departed for the Houston Texans, quarterback has been a constant topic at the Broncos headquarters. Thursday night, Lynch joined a storied franchise certainly enjoyed the moment and where he landed.
“It was honestly the greatest feeling I have ever felt in my whole life, just because I know the work I’ve put in for this,” Lynch said moments after being drafted. “It’s just a dream come true to me and the Denver Broncos are obviously one of the best in the league.”
Lynch played in 38 games over three seasons after debuting in 2014 as a redshirt freshman and tallied 8,863 passing yards, 59 touchdowns and 23 interceptions during his time in Memphis. His size, mobility and leadership lead the Broncos to take their first offensive player since Elway took over as general manger. Shortly after he was taken Lynch spoke to the local media at UCHealth Training Center and voiced his excitement as he joined his new NFL home.
“Honestly, I am very excited and understand the role I have coming in,” he said. “There has been a lot of great quarterbacks that have come through here and a good one obviously last year with Peyton so I know there are big shoes to fill but I am ready to do it. I’m just ready to go get to work.”
Connor Cook of Michigan State University and several other quarterbacks were available but Elway and head coach Gary Kubiak’s thought enough of him to move up and select him at 26th overall. Lynch will come in with understandably high expectations and join veteran free agent signee Mark Sanchez and last year’s late draft pick Trevor Siemian in the quarterback competition. Elway and Kubiak both have made it abundantly clear that it will be an open competition from day one for the starting job, something Lynch expects as a rookie entering the NFL.
“Obviously every quarterback coming out of college has stuff they need to work on and aren’t primed for the NFL just because they have never been there and played in that system or that talent level,” he said of his immediate outlook. “There are some good quarterbacks on the roster now so I know that will be good competition for all of us.”
Lynch joins a talented bunch and he certainly will be immediately thrust into the spotlight as a former Broncos quarterback drafts the newest Broncos’ quarterback.