Paxton Lynch ready to 'get to work' walking in Peyton Manning's footsteps

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Paxton Lynch was formally introduced Friday as the newest Denver Broncos quarterback. With jersey in hand, he was just a few feet from a picture that hangs in the team meeting room of the guy who had been his favorite NFL player.

The picture shows the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton being sacked by several of Lynch's newest teammates during the Broncos' Super Bowl 50 win in February. It was all part of the welcome to the NFL tapestry for the Broncos' first-round pick, one of the quarterbacks who will try to go about the business of filling Peyton Manning's proverbial shoes.

"Crazy to think about," Lynch said. "If you would have told me when I was preparing for the draft I'd be filling Peyton Manning's shoes, I would have told you you were crazy. You have to watch Peyton, he's one of the greatest of all time."

Lynch gave his introductory answers surrounded by images of the Broncos' Super Bowl win -- reminders, along with the Lombardi trophies in the front lobby, of where he has landed to start his pro career.

"I watched the Super Bowl because Cam's my guy," said Lynch, a Florida native. "In high school, when he was at Auburn, he was a guy I kind of mimicked my game after just because he was such an explosive player."

Lynch is the big-framed, big-armed, mobile passer the Broncos wanted out of this draft. Given that Lynch played in a spread offense that didn't require him to work under center all that often, the Broncos offer the kind of a situation in which a young quarterback can grow into the job.

The Broncos already have two quarterbacks in Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian who are well versed in the offense. They also have a well-stocked roster for a team that has won five consecutive AFC West titles and made two Super Bowl trips in the last three seasons.

So Lynch will have time if he needs it, and he will have the opportunity to play if he doesn't. Asked Friday if he believed he could be behind center Sept. 8 when the Broncos open the regular season against the Panthers, Lynch showed composure.

"I guess that's up to the coaches," Lynch said. "My job here is to come in and go to work every day in, day out, give it everything I've got. ... I'm going to do whatever I have to do to help this team win ballgames, whether that's playing or pushing the guy in front of me ... this is the best situation to end up in."

Lynch's coach at Memphis, Justin Fuente -- now the coach at Virginia Tech -- called Lynch a "natural thrower of the ball." Fuente said Lynch handled coaching well, was respected by his teammates and pushed himself constantly.

"There was something in Paxton, he wanted to be good," Fuentes said. "You could tell this was a kid who felt like he could do it."

For his part, Lynch said pre-draft chatter that he may not be assertive enough to lead in the NFL or wasn't able to make the transition from Memphis' spread offense to a more traditional pro-style attack bothered him. But he added he was ready to leave that talk behind.

"I mean, it bothers me because a lot of people who write those reports and do that stuff weren't in the locker room with me," Lynch said. "You can ask any of those guys who played with me, they can tell you, there's nothing wrong. I couldn't control that and now I'm where I am, and I'm ready to be part of this team."

Lynch's visit Friday was a whirlwind affair to meet the team's coaches and front-office staff. He will return for the team's rookie minicamp May 6-8. Lynch said several Broncos players such as Sanchez, Siemian, Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and C.J. Anderson had already reached out to him.

"It's a blessing to be here to say the least," Lynch said. "I'm ready to get to work."