INDIANAPOLIS – It’s OK to say Paxton Lynch is coming along slower than expected for a first-round draft pick.

But it’s still too early to call him a bust, inaccurate to call him a former Bronco.

Lynch, who is 1-3 as a starter with 4 touchdown passes and 4 interceptions in his two seasons since he was the Broncos’ first-round pick in 2016, will return for a third season with the Broncos in 2018.

"Oh yeah,’’ Broncos general manager John Elway said in a sit-down interview with 9News. “Paxton will be back and we're going to continue to work with Paxton and continue to develop him. We knew it was going to take a little bit of time with Paxton. It was unfortunate that last year he got hurt twice. … But we still have high expectations for Paxton. We’re still going to get him in there and continue to make strides.’’

To which a significant portion of Broncos Country might wonder: Why? What does Elway see in Lynch that is not evident to others?

“He still has all the physical tools to do it,’’ Elway said. “He can move around, he’s athletic, he can make all the throws. But … we knew coming out of Memphis that he was a young guy who was going to take some time and we were going to have to develop that. And that’s been the case.

“This is going to be a big year for Paxton because now he knows what the NFL is about. And so now it’s time for him to step forward and show what he can do.’’

Lynch did look good in the Broncos’ season finale against Kansas City, completing 21 of 31 for 254 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 27-24 loss.

The Broncos aren’t planning to make Lynch the starter in 2018. But ideally, they sign a free agent quarterback – Kirk Cousins is their preference – keep Lynch and Chad Kelly as the backups and use the No. 5 overall draft pick to upgrade another position.

Regardless of how the Broncos’ overall plan plays out, Lynch won’t be leaving.