ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos traded up from the last pick in the first round of the NFL Draft to No. 26 on Thursday night to select quarterback Paxton Lynch from the University of Memphis.
“It was honestly the greatest feeling,” an emotional Lynch said of getting the phone call that he will be joining the reigning Super Bowl champions. “I know the work I have put into this and all the stuff I have done going through this process and meeting all these people and talking to all these people. You just want to get picked and go to a team and get to work. This is a dream come true to me and the Denver Broncos organization is obviously one of the best in the league.
“Obviously, I’m very excited and I understand the role that I have coming in. There have been a lot of great quarterbacks that have come through Denver and a good one, obviously last, year with Peyton [Manning]. So I know there are a lot of shoes to fill. But I’m glad I’m on a team now and I’m ready to get up there and get to work.”
The Broncos traded with the Seattle Seahawks to move up. The teams swapped first-round positions and the Broncos sent a third-round pick (No. 94 overall) to the Seahawks. The Broncos were in need of a quarterback after Manning retired and Brock Osweiler left for the Houston Texans in free agency.
Broncos Executive Vice President and General Manager John Elway made a splash with the pick and hopes he landed his quarterback of the future. It’s the first time in six seasons as general manager that Elway took an offensive player with his first pick.
Elway said Lynch was the team’s top target and he started to try to trade up with the Atlanta Falcons at No. 17 before landing a deal with the Seahawks.
“We’re thrilled that Paxton Lynch is going to be a Bronco,” Elway said in a Twitter post. “He fits what we do very well and plays the game with a lot of enthusiasm.”
Lynch, 22, is 6-foot-7 and 245 pounds with a strong arm and can run, an ideal fit for coach Gary Kubiak’s offense. Drafting the quarterback from Memphis all but means the Broncos won’t trade for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick or Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford.
“Yeah, we’re probably over with Kaepernick,” Elway said. “We’re thrilled that we could get Paxton and have Mark [Sanchez] in here like we talked about before. We’re thrilled to get Mark with his experience and the way that he’s going to come in and compete for that job with Paxton and Trevor (Siemian), and we’ll see what else we have.”
“They’re all going to compete,” Kubiak said. “The great thing about our situation with Mark and Trevor and Paxton now is they’re all coming up together. Even though Mark’s a veteran player, he’s new in our system so the growth together will be a good situation for all three of them.
“But there are no givens on our team. Everybody competes and I’m expecting him to come in here and make up some ground really quickly.”
The Broncos will introduce Lynch at a news conference at 4 p.m. Friday.
The second and third round of the draft will be held Friday. The Broncos have one selection in each round.