The 20 biggest what-ifs in Denver Broncos history

  • Blockbuster trade for Calvin Johnson?
  • Missing out on Kyle Shanahan
  • Steve Young the Denver Broncos QB?
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7. What if the Broncos passed on Paxton Lynch, took Dak Prescott later?

The Denver Broncos were in a bit of a pickle leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft. The team had just won Super Bowl 50, and Peyton Manning retired. We already talked about the fact that Colin Kaepernick turned down a pay cut to take over as the Broncos' quarterback.

Brock Osweiler spurned the team in free agency by signing with the Houston Texans.

I know John Elway once famously said "There is no Plan B" but in 2016, I think we were onto Plan C or D at best. That Plan C or D (or whatever it was) turned into the team moving up for quarterback Paxton Lynch in the 2016 NFL Draft. At the time, that move was considered a pretty significant win for the Denver Broncos.

Two other teams tried to move up to select Lynch in the back half of the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, namely the Chiefs and Cowboys. The Broncos simply outbid them, apparently. The domino effect of that was, of course, the Cowboys selecting Dak Prescott in the fourth round of the same draft and the Chiefs traded up for a QB the following year. Patrick Mahomes, you may have heard of him.

So what if the Broncos missed out on Lynch in that year's draft? What if they determined he wasn't worth moving up for?

Although his pre-draft visit became a pretty big news story given the fact that he missed his meeting with John Elway and the Broncos' decision-making brass at the time. The way Prescott tells the story, he got stuck at the gate at the Orlando airport and missed the flight, but got to Denver later. He says he missed the initial dinner meeting with the Broncos but still had his visit with the team.

Ultimately, I think the Broncos would have still taken Prescott in that draft at some point if they had missed out on Lynch. Would it have been before the Cowboys in round four? I'm not sure about that. But what if they did? That's the point of this exercise, right?

Prescott clearly proved rather quickly with Dallas that he was ready for a starting job in the NFL. I think he absolutely could have done the same in Denver.