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David Ramsey: Trevor Siemian is underdog in battle for Denver Bronco starting QB

April 14, 2017 Updated: April 14, 2017 at 11:30 am
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This Oct. 2, 2016 photo shows Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) and quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) running onto the field for warmups before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Fla. Siemian won't be sitting back and watching Lynch take all the snaps at the Denver Broncos' minicamp in two weeks. Coach Vance Joseph said at the start of his team's offseason program Monday that Siemian had made a quicker-than-expected recovery from his offseason shoulder surgery. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Trevor Siemian says he’s “not at all” insulted by coach Vance Joseph’s declaration that it’s a “50-50” battle for the Broncos starting QB job.

Of course he’s not insulted. Siemian was the 250th pick of the 2015 draft, and he was surprised, and thrilled, to even be drafted.

Paxton Lynch, Siemian’s competition at QB, was the 26th pick of the 2016 draft, and he hoped to go even higher.

If Siemian’s potential is greater than Lynch’s, the Broncos are in trouble.  Potential is not reality. I get that. If Siemian is the superior quarterback for 2017, he deserves the job. Plenty of 1st-round QBs – Ryan Leaf, Tommy Maddox, Joey Harrington, JaMarcus Russell – have ended up on the NFL junk heap as busts. Lynch could be the next arrival on the junk heap.

The big question about Siemian is this:

Can he improve much on his 2016 performance?

I believe we saw Siemian at near-peak Siemian. He was often solid, but seldom spectacular. Yes, he finished a respectable 8-6 as a starter, but he had a superior, frightening defense strutting beside him. Siemian is not destined to bust into the list of the NFL’s top 15 quarterbacks. He's an elite backup, and that's it.

Lynch could bust into the top 15,  and beyond. His ceiling is higher, much higher, than Siemian’s. He could become an elite starter.

Lynch was a great college quarterback, throwing 50 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions in his last two seasons at Memphis.

Siemian was a good, not great, college quarterback, throwing 18 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in his final two seasons at Northwestern. (Siemian faced stronger college defenses than the ones faced by Lynch.)

"I think you learn pretty quickly, or at least I did, you've got to earn it every year, every day in the league. And that goes for beyond me and Paxton; that's everybody," Siemian said Thursday.

Good answer, Trevor, who doesn’t talk as if he’s in a big lead in the QB race.

That’s because he’s not in the lead. He’s tied, as he should be, as the struggle begins.