Paxton Lynch was the No. 26 overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. Highly prized by John Elway, he was seen by the Denver Broncos as a kid who could come in and transform the offense “quicker than a lot of people think.”
Elway was wrong. Oh, so wrong.
Lynch was the second-string quarterback throughout the 2016 season. When he did play due to injury to Trevor Siemian, Lynch was awful. After competing with Siemian this summer, he remains the team’s second-string quarterback.
Denver announced Monday that Siemian is the starter. Period.
There won’t be any further competition. Nor should there be. Lynch has no business leading an NFL offense right now. He doesn’t read defenses quickly enough, doesn’t see wide open receivers because he gets locked onto his first read, isn’t particularly accurate and relies far to heavily on the check-down options.
With Lynch being relegated to the backup role, he joins a list that nobody would be excited about.
The past decade has seen three other quarterbacks besides Lynch who were selected in Round 1 and couldn’t assume a full-time starting job.
QB's drafted in the 1st round since 2006 to not assume a full-time starting gig by the start of Year 2: Paxton Lynch, Manziel, Tebow, Quinn.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 21, 2017
Tim Tebow flamed out because, let’s be honest, sometimes he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a handful of rice (like this). He also struggled to read the field quick enough, which often resulted in broken plays (like this). He’s now having a blast playing minor league baseball and working for ESPN during college football season.
Brady Quinn is probably the guy that comes the closest to having experienced what Lynch is currently looking at. Both of them can throw the ball a country mile. Both of them are athletic guys who can move well and make plays with their legs. Both of them struggle to read defenses and diagnose what’s happening on the fly.
Quinn managed to stick around for eight years in the NFL, though he last played in a game back in 2012. He appeared in 24 games and ended up starting 20. He won four of those games, completing 53.8 percent of his passes for just 3,043 yards with 12 touchdowns and 17 touchdowns.
So, to recap, the guys who’ve traveled down the current path that Lynch finds himself on — Manziel, Tebow and Quinn — all became irrelevant fairly quickly.
Clearly, Lynch has an uphill climb to overcome history. Can he become a starting quarterback, or maybe even the face of a franchise? Maybe. But if Siemian has a good year and stays healthy, there’s a chance Lynch will never be the face of the Broncos.
If the former Memphis quarterback succeeds, it might have to be on another team that features an offensive-minded head coach that can figure out a game plan that utilizes his strengths. For now, it’s Lynch’s weaknesses that are glaringly obvious.