Broncos GM John Elway’s reputation for assessing quarterback talent took another hit today when the team announced that they were cutting Paxton Lynch from their 53-man roster to make room for Kevin Hogan. Denver took Lynch in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft with the 26th overall pick.
Lynch’s career stats of 792 passing yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions in five games summarizes his ability, or lack thereof, to play quarterback in the NFL, but it’s also an indictment of Elway’s ability to draft a competent quarterback to his team. Since he became GM in 2012, Elway has selected Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly. Osweiler is in Miami after a failed stint in Houston and an unsuccessful return to Denver; Dysert was cut in 2015; and Siemian was traded to Minnesota for a draft pick. Kelly, the 2017 draft’s Mr. Irrelevant, is still hanging in there. This doesn’t include the array of backups whose careers he’s collected outside of the draft (here’s looking at you, Mark Sanchez).
The closest Elway has come to finding a decent QB during his tenure was the diminished version of Peyton Manning, one of the greatest players of all time, who was so past his prime it looked like one sack could turn him into dust. His final season (2,249 passing yards with nine TDs and 17 interceptions in 10 games) was worse than either of Siemian’s last two seasons with the Broncos, and that’s saying something. Manning was only able to smooch Papa John after his team won the Super Bowl because he had one of the strongest defenses ever.
John Elway is a great example of how being an excellent player doesn’t necessarily mean you can identify excellence in other players. Sure, no team’s front office hits on every pick, but Elway certainly benefits from his reputation. The only reason he doesn’t catch more shit is because he doesn’t run the team that took Christian Hackenberg.