Usually these conversations start with people like Jamarcus Russell or Ryan Leaf. It is hard to say if their struggles would have been able to fly under the radar had it not been for their off-field drama. Their high draft status and low NFL production is well known as they have both become synonymous with the word ‘bust’. Although they struggled when given the chance, they were at least good enough to get a chance. Paxton Lynch has been abysmal since being drafted and has barely seen any playing time.
Paxton Lynch was taken with the 26th overall pick in the 2016 draft by the Denver Broncos. After winning the Super Bowl the year prior, the Broncos needed a QB after Peyton Manning’s retirement and drafted Lynch as their QB of the future. He would start his rookie season as a backup to relatively unknown QB Trevor Siemian. Their plan was to have Lynch watch as much as he can for his first season before throwing him into real game situations. The Broncos really only needed a QB that would not turn the ball over to go along with their already stout defense. After watching his first season, he was injured in the next season and served primarily as a backup. When he was able to return he did not impress, and got injured again.
Although they have lost a lot of their talent, people are still saying the Broncos have a great defense* and that all they need is a good quarterback. This offseason the Broncos tried to fix that problem by signing QB Case Keenum. They also drafted QB Chad Kelly (who will be referred to from here on as ‘Swag’ Kelly) in the 7th round to round out their QB depth. Paxton Lynch was expected to compete for the starting job this year and turn into the QB the Broncos have needed. Case Keenum was barely able to keep his job last year in Minnesota. He did not impress anybody and was never named the permanent starter but he didn’t make enough mistakes to warrant Mike Zimmer making a change. Chad Kelly is a rookie 7th round pick who was expected to hold a clip-board all year. After the Broncos first pre-season game they have demoted Paxton Lynch to QB3 and Swag Kelly is QB2. This has caused outrage from Broncos fans who have even started a go-fund-me to pay the Broncos what it would cost to buyout Lynch’s contract.
To this point in his career Lynch has played in four games and has a 1-3 record. He has thrown for 4 TDs and 4 INTs. In Jamarcus Russell’s first two seasons he had a record of 5-11 as a starter and had thrown for 15 TDs and 12 INTs. He played outstanding in the final two games of his second season including a 10 point fourth quarter comeback to end the season. People has very high hopes for Jamarcus going into his third season. In his third year Jamarcus ended up being out of shape and played terribly. He was benched and then appeared to cry on the sidelines for a moment after the benching. He was released following the 2009 season and in 2010 was arrested for possession of codeine, and has been referred to as a bust ever since.
When compared to Paxton Lynch it is very unfair to call Jamarcus a bust. Jamarcus was drafted to a team that had been terrible and had high expectations to perform well without a lot of talent around him. He showed flashes of brilliance but he was not dedicated to being a professional and therefore was never able to take the next step to being the player he was expected to be. After the 2008 season ended Raiders fans had high hopes for 2009. Since the night he was drafted, Paxton Lynch has not given Broncos fans high hopes.
Despite his terrible career thus far, Paxton Lynch has been able to stay out of the ‘bust’ conversation. For whatever reason he does not command the same attention Jamarcus Russell did most likely because Lynch was picked later in the draft and Jamarcus went number 1. At this time Paxton Lynch appears to be on the way out of Denver and the NFL. The fact that he has barely played has worked in his favor as he has no embarrassing moments to show on film. The Broncos will release him, and the media will discuss for the day what it means going forward with Keenum and Kelly. They may even bring up him being a bust but he will never get the label of biggest draft bust that he deserves. When Paxton Lynch’s career is finally over he should thank Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf for getting so much attention throughout their career. It was because of them that Paxton Lynch will be forgotten as truly the biggest draft bust ever.
[H/T Barstool Big Cat who told everyone after the draft that Lynch would be a bust because he knew right after seeing the bowl game against Auburn when Lynch threw 5 INTs that he was trash]
*The Broncos defense is not going to be good this year. Since their Super Bowl win they have lost Malik Jackson, Danny Trevethan, Aqib Talib and others. Their defense sucked last year too. They started off well because of the elevation. The Broncos get a huge advantage early in the season with the new training camp rules. Players are not in as great shape to start the season as they have ben in years past. This gives a hige advantage to the Broncos especially at home. They started last year 3-1 and then lost 8 straight coming off a bye. Including a game at home against the Giants after everyone on the Giants had gotten hurt. The Broncos didn’t fix their QB issue with Keenum and they are going to be a trash team again this year. People saying to bet them to win the division or even make playoffs are fools of the highest order.