Paxton Lynch will not be ready to start for the Denver Broncos in Week 1 of 2016. So says Dave Woloshin, who called play-by-play for every game of Lynch’s three-year career at Memphis, but Woloshin says Lynch has the arm strength and fundamentals that could make him the starter in short order.

Woloshin joined Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro on “Afternoon Drive” on Mile High Sports AM 1340 and FM 104.7 to sing the rookie quarterback’s praises on the day Lynch was introduced in Denver, saying, “I think you’re going to be really happy in the long run.”

Lynch, drafted 26th overall by the reigning Super Bowl champion Broncos, led Memphis to a 22-16 record in three years as a starter, winning nine and 10 games in his sophomore and junior seasons and appearing in bowl games both years. A 3-9 freshman year with a steep learning curve – coming out of a small prep school in Florida – tilted his overall stats.

Lynch would face an equally steep curve going from the AAC to the NFL, and from a read-option offense to Gary Kubiak‘s offense, which puts his quarterback predominantly under center.

“They’re getting a pretty good quarterback,” Woloshin told Goodman and Shapiro, “a guy who I think has to sit out about a year and watch Sanchez go to work, learn the system, learn how to read defenses, practice a little more under center, taking three-step, five-step, seven-step drops. I think he’s going to be terrific for you.”

There is a blueprint, however, Gary Kubiak can follow to transition Lynch – one that has worked quite well for the Cincinnati Bengals.

“[Lynch] ran a lot of read-option. It’s the same system that Andy Dalton, who’s now the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback, went through when he played for [former Memphis, now West Virginia head coach] Justin Fuente at TCU. So it’s not like he’s never been there. But he wasn’t under center…”

Lynch is big, strong and fast – a perfect fit for Kubiak’s designed roll outs and bootlegs – but he’ll need to improve his footwork. Woloshin says he’s already made big strides in that department.

“…if you look from the time he was at the combine to the time he was at the pro day, look at his footwork and the improvement that was done there.”

It mirrors similar development Woloshin saw between that first losing season at Memphis to a 10-win season in his sophomore year.

“Look at the improvement that he had from his freshman year in college to his junior year when he won the Ole Miss game and sort of was put on the map. The guy’s come a long way and I think he’s only going to get better. He’s 6-[foot]-7, 245 [pounds], that’s legit.”

On draft night, John Gruden compared Lynch to 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton with the way he can run.

“I’m not saying he’s Cam Newton speed-wise,” Woloshin said, “but he can run. And he’s used to the option-read, so he gets out – and once he’s out there he can move. He’s smart enough to know when to slide.”

Lynch’s best asset, Woloshin believes, is his arm – something that was severely lacking with Peyton Manning last year.

“He can make every throw that you want,” Woloshin said about Lynch, “I watched him at Bowling Green, Kentucky step into a pass into a wind and throw the ball 70 yards and it was effortless.”

Broncos fans probably have to go all the way back to the time Manning was burning them as an Indianapolis Colt to remember Manning making a 70-yard throw.

Lynch isn’t just a gunslinger, though. His arm strength comes from a solid foundation, not just raw athleticism.

“You want to look at a guy with fundamentals when he steps into a ball, and it looks just artform-like, that’s him,” Woloshin said.

Broncos fans will be impressed by Lynch’s arm when training camp rolls around, but their optimism will have to be guarded in the first year as Lynch adjusts to life under center and the complex offenses and defenses in the NFL. Fortunately, for Denver, they have Mark Sanchez to hold down the position while Lynch learns and matures. And if his college career is any indication, the learning curve will be nice and short for the quarterback of the future.

Listen to the full interview with Woloshin, including how a random trip to a dialysis clinic played into Lynch’s success, in the podcast below.

Catch “Afternoon Drive” every weekday from 4p-6p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 and FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s largest sports talk lineup.