ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Mark Sanchez didn’t see the Denver Broncos‘ selection of Paxton Lynch in the NFL draft as a threat. Sanchez saw it as affirmation that he is on track to be the starting quarterback for the defending Super Bowl champions.
“Absolutely, that’s the message I’ve received,” Sanchez said Monday after the team’s workout. “I’m thrilled with this opportunity.”
Sanchez was also one of the first Broncos players to reach out to Lynch, the former University of Memphis quarterback whom the Broncos selected with the 26th pick this past weekend, to congratulate him on being selected by the Broncos.
Sanchez said he has been prepared all along for the Broncos’ early-round selection of a quarterback. When asked a few weeks before the draft about the idea that the team could bring in another established veteran or a high draft pick at the position, he said, “Bring it on.”
Even as the Broncos talked to the San Francisco 49ers earlier in the offseason about acquiring Colin Kaepernick in a trade or having Brian Hoyer in for a visit, or as quarterbacks in the draft visited the Broncos’ complex in the weeks before the draft, Sanchez said he kept his eye on the proverbial ball.
“Whether it was a veteran who came in, any of those things that were out there, any of these guys in the draft that were going to the pros this year, my focus wouldn’t change,” Sanchez said. “Why become a slave to your emotions like that? It’s not worth it, you’re just spinning your wheels for nothing.
“I just kind of learned with time. … Who knows what’s going to happen, and who cares? What are you supposed to do? Meet your teammates, develop a relationship with them, learn the playbook, get involved in the community, that’s it, those three things.”
“I just kind of learned with time … who knows what’s going to happen and who cares? What are you supposed to do? Meet your teammates, develop a relationship with them, learn the playbook, get involved in the community, that’s it, those three things.”
Even as many of the team’s fans have worried about the depth chart at quarterback, Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway and coach Gary Kubiak have consistently expressed their optimism and belief in Sanchez as the prospective starter.
Just after the team selected Lynch, Kubiak said, “We have a lot of confidence in Mark. He’s doing a great job, working extremely hard.”
The Broncos acquired Sanchez for a conditional seventh-round pick in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles in March. He and Trevor Siemian have since tried to make the most of getting a head start in the team’s offense.
With one year remaining on his contract, Sanchez can only enhance his value by playing well for a team that has won five consecutive division titles and has made two Super Bowl trips in the past three seasons.
Sanchez said he aims to help younger players like Lynch and Siemian along, too.
“If you’re confident in your ability, you’ve got no problem helping a guy,” Sanchez said. “If you see something, whether it’s on the field, off the field, you can just help him out as much as you can.”