Paxton Lynch’s performances in his three years as the starting quarterback of the Memphis Tigers have garnered the attention of many NFL scouts. His 6’7″ 244lb frame makes him an formidable figure under centre, but does he have the ability and mentality to go with his towering physical stature?
Lynch was already looked upon as one of the best quarterback prospects pre-draft, and a good throwing session backed this notion up. Lynch showed impressive arm strength on both deep and intermediate passes, but most of the focus was on his footwork. Coming from an offense that operated almost solely from the shotgun, Lynch’s discomfort with dropping back from under centre was apparent at times.
In the recorded drills, Lynch’s 4.86 40-yard dash showed his impressive athleticism for his size, as did his 36″ vertical leap.
Hand Size: 10 1/4″
40 Yard Dash: 4.86 seconds
Vertical Jump: 36″
Broad Jump: 9′ 10″
3 Cone Drill: 7.16 seconds
Size and strength make Lynch an imposing figure at the quarterback position, and a difficult challenge to take down once gotten to. What’s more impressive is his athleticism; Lynch has the speed and footwork to make himself a dangerous runner, both through traffic and in the open field. Importantly, Lynch maintains a “throw first” mentality, and will only run when forced to.
Lynch maneuvers the pocket with impressive comfort. His footwork and poise allow him to stay in long enough for receivers to gain separation, and his height allows him to throw with accuracy whilst under pressure. The Florida native has impressive arm strength, which shows when making throws off balance that force him to rely on his arm alone.
The biggest concern with Lynch’s transition to the pro-level is his lack of experience with a pro-style offense. The doubts over his ability to adapt to under centre formations and more complex reads are similar to the ones Marcus Mariota faced this time last year.
Lynch can makes some pin-point throws on the run, but his accuracy is quite erratic while on the move. As mentioned before, his fastball carries a lot of heat, but often wobbles when really forced. He has a frustrating habit of throwing low to receivers on out-breaking sideline routes as well.
Much will depend on how he adapts to the pro-style of offense, but if his transition is as smooth as the aforementioned Mariota’s was, then Lynch has all the tools to be a NFL starter. Good decision making, impressive athleticism and a strong arm make him an intriguing prospect that may just lure a team into taking a risk on him relatively early.
Draft Prediction: Late 1st round – Mid 2nd round