The Denver Broncos and John Elway had a plan on day 1 of the 2016 NFL Draft to land Paxton Lynch. Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the Denver Broncos general manager, John Elway is reminiscent of what he was as a quarterback: He's cool, composed, unruffled and without a trace of panic.
In recent weeks, most of Colorado howled with anxiety over the Denver Broncos' quarterback situation in the wake of Brock Osweiler's departure -- they had only Mark Sanchez, on his third team in four seasons, and 2014 seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian. They met with Colin Kaepernick and Brian Hoyer, and entertained other possibilities, but as the weeks passed, the quarterback situation remained unchanged.
He was just waiting for the draft, as it turned out.
And he was waiting on Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch.
"Paxton's the guy we had after the first two quarterbacks were gone. Paxton was the guy we had targeted," Elway said. "It was a long night. It's been a long couple months, actually. Tonight when Paxton was there, we were able to go up there and get Paxton."
All it took was the Broncos' third-round pick, the No. 94 overall selection, to move up five spots to No. 26 in the first round to get Lynch and prevent the Browns and Cowboys from jumping back into the first round to nab the mobile University of Memphis quarterback.
"My biggest concern was what was coming from behind us," Elway said.
Lynch will require some development. Most of his experience calling plays in the huddle came as a freshman at Memphis, and he will have to learn how to operate under center to run the offense Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak would prefer to operate.
But Kubiak declared Thursday night that Lynch would be in the mix to start, and expects he can make a push for that role.
"We know that he has the ability to do that, and that's why we stepped up and went and got him," Kubiak said. "We'll put him in the right situation and ... he's coming to a good football team and needs to stay focused on his job and his growth and what he needs to do."
But before they could get him in that "right situation," the Broncos had to be patient. Elway was unwilling to go up to the top of the draft for a quarterback; given that the Broncos held the last (No. 31) pick in the first round, the price would have been steep.
"I think it might have taken four of our drafts," Elway said. "It would have been a little difficult."
But he was willing to move up as high as the No. 17 pick to get Lynch. That was where the Broncos started making phone calls Thursday.
Many observers thought the Jets would take Lynch with the No. 20 pick, but the Broncos felt they would target another position; in the end, they selected Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee. That left the Broncos needing to make a deal to prevent a team with an early second-round pick from jumping them. In the Seahawks, they found a willing partner.
"We're thrilled that we were able to get the deal done with Seattle," Elway said.
Now the protracted pursuit of Kaepernick is off the table. The Broncos have their quarterback of the future. The coming months will determine when that future begins.