College Stats: 8,865 passing, 59 touchdowns. 687 rushing, 17 touchdowns.
Lost in the hoopla about Wentz and Goff at the top of the draft is Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. The 6-7 quarterback has been no stranger to missing out on the spotlight after earning very little attention in the recruiting process due to an injury. He found a perfect home in Memphis with head coach Justin Fuente. The surprisingly athletic signal caller improved significantly during his time with the program and should be the third quarterback taken in the draft.
Part of an athletic family with his father playing college basketball and his brother playing college baseball, Lynch has been destined to shine at some sport. While Lynch is talented at more than just football, he made the decision to focus on football and the rest is history.
This is the game versus Ole Miss that turned Lynch from a possible first round draft pick into one of the top quarterbacks on the board.
The case for Lynch going in the first round:
Lynch is tall at 6-7, but has a body that can be molded by NFL coaches. He has the ability to put on more weight if needed so that he can handle the physicality of the sport. He will need to put on a little weight in his first couple of years in the league.
Lynch is surprisingly athletic despite his lanky frame, showing off his ability to run with the football as needed. He should send a thank you note to Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler. The solid play of Osweiler at Denver in 2015 gave NFL coaches belief in taking such a tall quarterback.
The top attribute Lynch brings to the table is an ability to be accurate while gaining the edge on a run. Many teams, like Denver, love to get the quarterback on the edge in a bootleg and Lynch fits that bill perfectly. He can get rid of the ball quickly and does not always have to fully set his feet in order to be accurate.
Lynch is also a true student of the game and will put in the hours needed on and off the field to lead his team.
The case against Lynch going in the first round:
Lynch came from a Wing-T football background and is a bit behind the curve mechanically to play quarterback. He has to spend some extra time working on his footwork to eliminate unneeded extra steps to set up and throw. Due to his lack of experience, he has a habit of going with his natural arm ability over correct fundamentals. Those are issues that must be fixed immediately, meaning lots of one on one work with the quarterback coach.
Since he has only been in a passing offense during his college career, Lynch is still learning how to keep an internal clock concerning the pass rush. As as result, he takes too many sacks when a more experienced quarterback would just throw the ball away. Not only do those sacks result in loss of yards, but they also end up with the ball getting knocked loose way too often.
Many of the negatives about Lynch are things that can be fixed with the correct coaching and more experience on the field.
What are others saying about Paxton Lynch:
NFL.com is high on Lynch, noting that he is not the same type of dual threat quarterback as Colin Kaepernick and Vince Young. They gave him very high praise in comparing him to current Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Mike Mayock is impressed with combination of athletic ability and arm strength of Lynch, comparing him to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
Where are mock drafts selecting Lynch?
According to the most recent mock drafts available, Lynch has over an 87% chance of getting selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The most likely home for Spence is at #20 with the New York Jets (31.1%), Denver at #31 (17.9%), Los Angeles at #1 (13.2%), San Francisco at #7 (12.3%), Philadelphia at #8 (4.7%), Arizona at #29 (4.7%), and Kansas City at #28 (3.8%).
He is the best fit for the system Gary Kubiak wants to run and should be able to shine with a strong defense that can bail him out on occasion.
My prediction is Lynch falling in the first round and getting selected by Denver with the #31 pick.