Before we get fully immersed into the NFL off-season, it is important that we first take a look back at what just happened. Of course, the Denver Broncos struggled in 2016 going just 9-7, and missing the NFL postseason for the first time since the Josh McDaniels era. After winning the Super Bowl in 2015, the Broncos roster suffered some major losses, as teams from around the league were quick to grab the free agents from Denver.

The Broncos quarterback position may have been hit by losses the hardest. After 18 incredible seasons, starting quarterback Peyton Manning retired as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Then, backup quarterback Brock Osweiler declined a hometown deal and left for Houston and a big free agent contract, leaving the Broncos scrambling for a new starter.

Veteran Mark Sanchez was brought in, but he failed to even make the opening day roster. Instead the Broncos opted to go with two quarterbacks that had combined for exactly one NFL snap. Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch took every snap at quarterback for the Broncos in 2016.

So how was their performance?

Trevor Siemian

Of the three quarterbacks on the Broncos training camp roster, Siemian was the forgotten man. Mark Sanchez had the experience, Paxton Lynch was the big-armed rookie, and Siemian was…well…he was on the roster too.

It isn’t the first time that Siemian has beaten the odds. It took him until his senior season to become the full-time starter at Northwestern. He never thought he’d be drafted, but the Broncos selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Then he somehow ended up winning the starting job, and going 8-6 as a starter.

Siemian is clearly an inexperienced quarterback, that must get better at reading defenses, and attacking them down the field. While his paltry 7.0 yards per pass attempt ranked him 20th among NFL starters, he actually seems to be at his best when he does turn the ball loose. His best game, might have been the home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 12, when he threw for 368 yards and three touchdowns.

You have to be impressed with Siemian’s poise under pressure, and it would seem that he will benefit greatly from playing under new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and new quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave. Siemian doesn’t have the biggest arm or the greatest scrambling ability, but he does seem to have a mind for the game. Improved offensive line play and a running game will only improve his game. It might not be popular, but Siemian may prove the doubters wrong once again, and become the Broncos quarterback of the future.

Final grade: B-

Paxton Lynch

John Elway used the Broncos’ 2015 first round NFL Draft pick on Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. Many NFL pundits have stated that Lynch may already have the biggest arm in the NFL today.

While he started just two games, and played in a third, it is obvious that NFL quarterbacks cannot live on a big arm alone. Lynch struggled to stay in the pocket, and was quick to pull the ball down after making just a single downfield read. The jump from Conference USA to the NFL looked too big at times, and Lynch will have to put in some serious work in the off-season.

Yet, we should still have hope that he may improve by next season. We all love retired former head coach Gary Kubiak, but there is no question that his offenses with Rick Dennison have struggled for years. The offensive line allowed Broncos quarterbacks to be sacked 40 times, and the running game ranked among the NFL’s worst.

New head coach Vance Joseph has stated that the quarterback job is wide open. Can Paxton Lynch do enough work in the offseason so that his advanced skills can actually be utilized? One would think that John Elway is certainly hoping so.

Final grade: C-