Denver Broncos: Grading John Elway’s last 5 draft classes

Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant at the NFL Draft. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant at the NFL Draft. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos, Justin Simmons
Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Draft Classes – Grading 2016 Broncos draft

The Broncos entered 2016 fresh off of a Super Bowl victory. However, the team lost future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning along with the presumed heir apparent Brock Osweiller.

The team moved up in the first round to select Paxton Lynch, a quarterback out of Memphis while also attempting to add depth to the offensive line and secondary. Here are the Broncos 2016 draft selections.

Rd 1 – Paxton Lynch QB -Memphis

Rd 2 – Adam Gotsis DL – Georgia Tech

Rd 3 – Justin Simmons S – Boston Collage

Rd 4 – Devontae Booker RB – Utah

Rd 5 – Connor McGovern IOL – Missouri

Rd 6 – Andy Janovich FB – Nebraska

Rd 7 – Riley Dixon P – Syracuse

Best Pick – Justin Simmons

Simmons has become an All-Pro safety in his five seasons with the Broncos and an integral part of the current staff’s defense. His play has improved each year as the starter and his durability is something that adds to his already immense value.

Simmons should be a fixture for this team for years to come.

Worst Pick – Paxton Lynch

Lynch earned all of four starts for the Denver Broncos and underwhelmed fans, his teammates, coaches, and members of the front office.

Lynch was cut before his rookie contract expired and has bounced around from the league hoping to get another opportunity. Lynch has shown no indication through his play or study habits that he is built for the NFL and was a tremendous miss for this organization.


John Elway’s misevaluation of Paxton Lynch has had a negative impact on the organization since 2016. Each of the following draft classes has had minimal impact because of Lynch’s inability to take over the franchise.

Not to be lost, Simmons was not only a steal in the 3rd round but an elite player at his position. The team also got significant impactful play from Adam Gotsis (2-year starter), Connor McGovern (2-year starter at guard and center), Devontae Booker (rotational back and 3rd down receiver), Andy Janovich (4-year starter and earned a second contract before being traded), Will Parks (critical play at nickel safety and spot starter), Riley Dixon (2-year starter at punter before being traded).

The black-eye from Lynch creates a dark cloud around this class, when, in all actuality, the class was fairly solid overall.


The grade is elevated by the phenomenal play of Simmons and would have been higher if not for the miss at the game’s most impactful position.