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AFC executive: Paxton Lynch similar to Ben Roethlisberger

Opinions on Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch as a pro prospect vary from glowingly favorable to cautiously optimistic.

Count one AFC executive in the former camp.

"He goes top 15 -- an athlete with a strong arm, a Big-Ben type," the executive told NFL Media's Albert Breer.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was also a top-15 pick, going to the Steelers at No. 11 overall in 2004. The comparison also stems from Lynch's massive 6-7, 240-pound frame. Both, as well, came from smaller college programs, as the Steelers chose Roethlisberger from Miami of Ohio after a spectacular junior season there.

Sound familiar?

Lynch, a junior as well, has dominated AAC competition, completing 226 of 327 passes (69.1 percent) for 19 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He'll decide after the season whether to apply for early eligibility into the 2016 draft, or return to Memphis next year as a senior.

An AFC area scout told Breer Lynch is similar to Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles in that both developed as a draft prospect rather suddenly, required scouts to do some catch-up work.

"No one's really studied him, but you see the talent. You go into Memphis to see the offensive lineman and the senior receiver, and then you look at the quarterback, and he's got arm strength and athletic ability, he's long," the scout told Breer. "It's a little scary. He was decent last year, and this is kind of like Bortles, where he just wasn't on anyone's radar."

Lynch plays a key AAC game Saturday at Houston.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*

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