Who are the only three players from the 2015 NFL Draft to throw for a touchdown?
Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, and... Trevor Siemian
Winston and Mariota were selected first and second overall. So most NFL fans know who they are. But who exactly is Siemian?
First off, or more aptly, last off, he was selected 250th out of 256 players in the 2015 NFL Draft. Only six guys were drafted after him in the entire draft. Five of them have never played in an NFL game.
Siemian entered the draft after four very lackluster seasons for the Northwestern Wildcats. In his final two seasons he averaged nine touchdowns to 10 interceptions, and had less than 2,200 passing yards. Those aren’t exactly the types of numbers that get people excited. Nor were his back to back 5-7 seasons to finish his career for the Wildcats.
Most draftniks did not include him in their top 20 quarterback prospects, and he was not invited to the NFL Combine in 2015. Despite this, the Broncos opted to draft him and make him their third-string quarterback in 2015.
When 2016 rolled around, the Broncos’ plan was to look at him as a potential backup to Brock Osweiler, who they wanted to re-sign when Peyton Manning retired. But when Osweiler bolted for the Texans, Siemian suddenly became the only quarterback remaining on the Broncos’ roster.
After failed attempts to land a quality veteran quarterback to replace Osweiler as the starter, the Broncos settled for bringing in Mark Sanchez to compete with Siemian for the starting job. To the surprise of many, Siemian beat out Sanchez and on August 29th was named the starting quarterback for the Broncos.
Siemian has been the Broncos starting quarterback for two weeks. How has he done?
Through the first two weeks, Siemian has been mostly throwing shorter routes, which he tends to be fairly accurate with when given good blocking. Although he does make some bad decisions which have led to interceptions. He has only completed two passes for more than 20 yards, and those were a long run after catch on a wide receiver screen to Demaryius Thomas, and a pass to running back C.J. Anderson.
In Week 1 Siemian only threw for 178 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions at home against the Panthers. In Week 2 that same Panthers defense gave up 70 more yards and twice as many touchdowns in a home game against Blaine Gabbert and a 49ers team devoid of receiving targets.
In Week 2, Siemian faced the Colts in Denver. The prior week Matthew Stafford destroyed the Colts by completing over 75 percent of his passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns at Indianapolis. Siemian had a much less successful game against a very porous Colts secondary, with almost 100 fewer yards, zero touchdowns, and an interception.
The Broncos have two good wide receivers with Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. They have a good running game to keep defenses honest. And they have a great defense. Despite this, Siemian has struggled against two pass defenses who haven’t done much this season. He has 425 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions, and a 74.4 quarterback rating.
One would think that lack of production would be more of a story, but it hasn’t been. It helps to be 2-0 instead of 0-2. But it’s taken home field advantage and some very fortuitous breaks for the Broncos to be 2-0 instead of 0-2 so far this year. In Week 1 a rare Graham Gano missed field goal let the Broncos escape with a close 21-20 home victory. In Week 2 the Broncos scored on a pair of defensive touchdowns, and they were spared what should have been a pick-six by Siemian when the Colts’ defensive back injured himself during the return.
On Sunday the Broncos, and Siemian, face their first road test against a good Bengals team. We will see if their luck holds up, or if Siemian’s struggles finally catch up with him.