Case Keenum is a lock to be the Broncos starting quarterback this season, but an intriguing battle is brewing between Chad Kelly and Paxton Lynch behind him.
When the Broncos spent a first round pick in 2016 on Paxton Lynch the front office believed they’d found their starting quarterback of the future. Just over two years later, Lynch is fighting for his place on the team’s roster. The emergence of Chad Kelly at quarterback means Lynch could easily end up playing somewhere else in 2018.
Ironically, Kelly was the last selection of the 2017 draft. That doesn’t mean anything in Vance Joseph’s eyes though. He refers to the former Ole Miss star as a “playmaker” and Kelly backed that up with two touchdowns in the span of five plays during the team’s most recent scrimmage.
Fans of Kelly shouldn’t get too carried away just yet. The fact that he’s yet to take a single practice rep with the second team makes it clear that he still trails Lynch by a pretty significant margin. That doesn’t mean it’s an impossible task. There’s a lot of football left in the preseason.
The battle for the backup quarterback position could turn into a major positive for the Broncos. If Both Lynch and Kelly look good in the preseason, it’s possible they can attract some interest on the trade market. The Broncos aren’t going to recoup the first round pick they spent to take Lynch in the first place, but it’s possible they can extract a mid-round pick from a quarterback-needy franchise.
Lynch, in particular, should be concerned that he could end up playing somewhere else. Teams are always interested in kicking the tires on first round picks that don’t succeed with the team that initially drafts them.
There were plenty of teams interested in Lynch back in 2016 due to his mobility and arm strength. He put up massive numbers in college, admittedly against pretty weak competition for Memphis. There are still quite a few scouts who still see big-time potential in Lynch.
At the very least, it’s a situation Broncos fans and other NFL talent evaluators should be monitoring going forward. The loser of this quarterback battle could turn into a valuable player on someone else’s roster.