The quarterback battle is underway in Denver. Trevor Siemian is the incumbent and looked decent at times last year, but they’ve also got Paxton Lynch, and he’s a former first-round pick. Lynch supposedly was coming on in the final workouts before training camp.

Lynch has the superior physical ability – a rocket launcher arm – but he’s got to show he can do it on the field. Zach Mettenberger and Bryce Petty, after all, have unusually strong arms but haven’t been able to get their careers going. Both have top-10 arm talent, but neither looks likely to be a top-40 quarterback anytime soon.

But Siemian has size and arm-strength limitations, putting a cap on how high he’ll ever go. The goal isn’t to finish 8-8 – they’re trying to win Super Bowls.

With the Broncos having a first-round pick invested in Lynch, they’ll want to see how far he can take them. They’ll need to know by the end of the season whether Lynch can realistically be counted on to be their quarterback in 2018. So if it’s close between Siemian and Lynch, I think they’ll want to get the youngster on the field.

And history tells us that when a quarterback is selected in the first round, he plays. In the 10 drafts prior to 2016, 26 quarterbacks were chosen with first-round picks. All but one of those guys (troubled Johnny Manziel) started at least 10 games in their first two years.

Lynch started only twice last year, but I expect he’ll start at least half of this season. It will be determined in part by injuries and performance, but there’s a good chance he’ll start 11-plus games, I’m figuring.

2008Joe Flacco, Balt.32205.87.41.1615.8
2011Cam Newton, Car.32247.545.21.9426.1
2012Ryan Tannehill, Mia.32225.214.01.2217.9
2012Andrew Luck, Ind.32256.119.81.7222.5
2015Jameis Winston, T.B.32254.111.71.7821.7
2009Mark Sanchez, NYJ31185.06.81.1315.0
2008Matt Ryan, Atl.30211.95.11.3316.6
2014Blake Bortles, Jac.29245.324.11.5921.3
2012Robert Griffin III, Wash.28228.746.61.5422.9
2014Teddy Bridgewater, Minn.28214.313.41.1417.1
2006Vince Young, Tenn.28164.733.01.0716.6
2015Marcus Mariota, Tenn.27231.322.31.8521.8
2010Sam Bradford, St.L.26218.33.4.9615.2
2011Christian Ponder, Minn.26180.317.81.2716.1
2009Josh Freeman, T.B.25211.620.81.4018.5
2011Blaine Gabbert, Jac.24159.36.4.8812.3
2006Jay Cutler, Den.21214.210.61.4317.6
2012Brandon Weeden, Clev.20245.47.71.1017.4
2006Matt Leinart, Ariz.16196.36.1.9414.4
2007JaMarcus Russell, Oak.16165.47.9.9412.9
2016Carson Wentz, Phil.16236.49.41.1317.8
2010Tim Tebow, Den.14164.458.71.6422.1
2013EJ Manuel, Buff.14200.717.01.3617.9
2009Matthew Stafford, Det.13215.59.21.6919.2
2008Brady Quinn, Clev.12154.09.9.9212.5
2011Jake Locker, Tenn.11197.826.51.0016.9
2014Johnny Manziel, Clev.8173.925.6.7514.3
2016Jared Goff, L.A.7155.62.3.8611.7
2016Paxton Lynch, Den.2163.514.5.5011.6

(On this chart, by the way, you're seeing the per-game numbers for each player in his first two seasons, with starts, passing average, rushing average, total touchdowns, and fantasy points -- standard scoring.)

—Ian Allan