It may not be the most traveled path, but it is the path that got Trevor Siemian to be a starting NFL quarterback. The 6’3″, 220 pound signal caller is entering his second season in the league despite lacking the pedigree of many of his colleagues.
With one full season as a college football starter, the Denver Broncos took a late-round flier on Siemian. The 24-year-old had taken just one NFL snap prior to the start of the 2016 season. He is relatively new to football in comparison to many prospects. Siemian originally played baseball, but began experimenting with football in high school.
Once it became clear that he had a natural ability to play quarterback, he took the opportunity and ran with it. In the most unlikely of circumstances, Peyton Manning’s successor was a seventh round draft pick.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. He Became a Starting High School Quarterback With Little Experience
Siemian’s high school coach Bob Head explained on the Orlando radio show Open Mike that he had to convince Siemian to play football. Siemian finally agreed and within a week of being on the junior varisty team he became the starting quarterback. Prior to joining the team, Siemian had no quarterback experience. His first game left an impression on Head.
“He threw for like four touchdowns and ran for two and literally went out and dominated the game after only one week of practice. As soon as I saw him play in that first game, I knew he was something special and had that ‘It’ factor,” Head told Open Mike.
He would eventually make the varisty team and throw for an Orange County record 6,144 passing yards along with 53 touchdowns over his career. According to Rivals, he was a three-star recruit. In addition to Northwestern, his offers included Duke, Syracuse, Rutgers and Colorado State.
2. Siemian Was a Part-Time Starter Until His Senior Year at Northwestern
The Orlando product did not take the most conventional path to the NFL. He chose to go to Northwestern in part because of the school’s strong academics. According to The Ringer, Siemian spent the majority of his time at Northwestern sharing the starting position.
After minimal action his freshman season, Siemian split time at quarterback his sophomore and junior year with Kain Colter. Siemian finally became the full-time starter his senior season. For his college career, he threw 5,931 yards, 27 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.
3. He Tore His ACL During His Senior Season at Northwestern
Siemian did not have the kind of season he would have wanted after he was finally given the full reins to the offense. He played in 11 games his senior season, but threw more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (7) prior to sustaining a season-ending injury. He tore his ACL during the second to last game of the season.
In addition to going through the NFL Draft process like other prospects, Siemian was rehabbing. It was no guarantee that he would make the Broncos roster given he was a late round selection, but he wowed the coaching staff as a rookie. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak explained the decision to keep Siemian to ESPN.
“We saw the arm. There was no doubt about the arm. When you watch him throw the ball at Northwestern, some of the wind and trees are going sideways and he’s out there making throws all over the field. You knew that he had that ability. Now, everything else, you’ve got to see, but he really came in and he’s adapted very well … With the knee coming along, would this be a long project situation? We didn’t know. He’s the one that made up the ground,” Kubiak told ESPN.
4. The Broncos Drafted Siemian in the 7th Round of the 2015 NFL Draft
Count Siemian as one of the surprised people when he was selected by the Broncos in the final round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He spoke to the Orlando Sentinel about the pleasant surprise.
“It was a cool feeling. It was better than I figured it would be, but then again, I didn’t really expect to be drafted…I didn’t want to get myself too excited one way or the other because you never know how these things shake down … who knows what the heck is going to happen, but it was awesome to finally get that call,” Siemian told the Orlando Sentinel.
Siemian was selected by the Broncos with the 250th pick of the draft and 33rd pick of the 7th round.
5. Prior to Being Named the Broncos Starter in 2016, Siemian Had Taken One NFL Snap
Siemian was not the most experienced quarterback heading into 2016. His lone NFL snap took place in 2015 when he took a knee to run out the clock. The Broncos traded up in the 2016 draft to select the Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, but the plan all along was to bring him along slowly.
Siemian beat out veteran quarterback Mark Sanchez in the preseason. Denver later cut Sanchez after Siemian clearly won the job.
Being an NFL quarterback almost did not happen, Siemian started out high school as a baseball player.
“He was a 6-foot-4 shorstop that the colleges were drooling all over because he was such a great player,” Head told Open Mike.
Head successfully convinced Siemian to try playing quarterback, and the Broncos are thankful he did.