ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Normally, watching the boss trade up in the first round of the NFL draft to take a player at your position wouldn't be such good news. Mark Sanchez saw it as a vote of confidence.
"Absolutely, and that's been the message I've received," Sanchez said Monday. "I'm thrilled about this opportunity. So, whether it was a veteran they brought in, any of names that were out there, any of these guys in the draft that are becoming pros this year, my focus wouldn't change."
Denver Broncos general manager John Elway outmaneuvered Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to move up in a trade with Seattle to select Memphis QB Paxton Lynch with the 26th overall pick last week.
Although Lynch is a potential franchise quarterback, he ideally needs some seasoning in the pros, and the other QB on the Denver roster, Trevor Siemian, has taken just one NFL snap.
Lynch's selection put the kibosh on Elway's pursuit of another veteran quarterback because Denver's GM wants these three quarterbacks all getting snaps with the starters this offseason.
That leaves Sanchez, who hasn't been a fulltime starter since 2012, as the front-runner to win the starting job.
Elway has been saying all spring that he'd be fine with Sanchez as the starter when the Broncos begin defense of their title in September against Carolina, whom they beat in the Super Bowl.
"Because he's been in playoffs, he's been in championship games," Elway said. "He's proven he can do that. He hasn't done it in a while. I don't know that he's ever been in a great offensive system that takes advantage of what he can do. And I can't tell you I've gone and studied him when he was with the Jets. I know with the Eagles last year ... he played OK when he did play. He made a couple of mistakes.
"So, I think sometimes you get quarterbacks in the right situations, you get the right people around him, then you have a chance to take advantage of what they can do."
Sanchez isn't getting ahead of himself, however.
"We've sure got a long way to go and it's been one day on the field but I sure am enjoying this process," Sanchez said after the start of on-field workouts Monday marked the first time he'd been on the field with his new team. "I love the concepts here. I love what Coach (Gary) Kubiak has done with quarterbacks in the past. Everywhere he's gone guys with different skill sets have had success and that's due to him and his staff and the system. ... So, that's very encouraging."
Sanchez said it's easy to mentor someone you're competing with because "if you're confident in your ability, you've got no problem helping a guy. ... If he sees something, whether it's on the field or off the field, you just help him out as much as you can."
Sanchez said he's spent the last two months learning the playbook, getting to know his teammates and getting involved in the community. What he refused to do, he said, was waste time fretting over the Broncos' pursuit of Colin Kaepernick or any other veteran QB.
"Why become a slave to your emotions like that? It's not worth it," Sanchez said. "You're just spinning your wheels for nothing. So, I just kind of learned with time and a little more experience in this offseason stuff who knows what's going to happen and who cares?"
Sanchez said he's been impressed by Siemian, whom he said was "almost like a player-coach" at the passing camp in California where several players gathered this spring to get a head-start.
"Mark is a great guy," Siemian said. "I have a year of experience in the offense. I'm doing whatever I can to help him out. He's picking it up pretty quick."
Notes: The Broncos declined to exercise NT Sylvester Williams' $6.75 million fifth-year option for 2017, which sets him up to be an unrestricted free agent after 2016.
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