DENVER – Thanks to Robert Griffin III signing with the Cleveland Browns and the likelihood of Colin Kaepernick remaining with the San Francisco 49ers, the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos may be on the outside looking in in terms of looking for a new quarterback.
Denver, who saw Peyton Manning ride off into the proverbial sunset of retirement, and backup Brock Osweiler sign a four-year $72 million contract with the Houston Texans, now find themselves looking at the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick and/or one the QB prospects such as Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, Michigan State’s Connor Cook and Ohio State’s Cardale Jones as a potential late first-round target.
While Cook and Jones both appear to be interesting developmental prospects, it is the 6’7 240-pound Lynch, who—pardon the pun—stands head and shoulders above them both. Lynch, who threw for 3,776 yards, 28 touchdowns and four interceptions for the Tigers may be the heir apparent to the void left by both Manning and Osweiler.
Thanks to having a similar build to Osweiler, uncanny athleticism for a player of his size and a NFL-quality cannon of an arm, Lynch may very well be a target of the Broncos. While Denver did recently acquire the former fifth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft out of the University of Southern California in Mark Sanchez, the latter is well past his glory days with Gang Green, in leading New York to back-to-back AFC title games his first two years in the league.
While Sanchez is a serviceable short-term plug-and-play guy for a team looking to develop a quarterback of the future, he is not the long-term answer to a franchise hoping to contend for another Super Bowl such as Denver.
Based on this, Sanchez is likely the odds-on favorite to initially start. However, depending on who the Broncos sign in free agency or draft in April, do not be surprised if someone other than Mr. Butt-Fumble to line up under center Week 1.
If I’m Denver, it’s either a combination of a veteran/first-round pick or bust over Sanchez any day.