Coach: Scouts say Paxton Lynch likely to be 1st QB drafted in '16

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Memphis' Paxton Lynch is fast-becoming one of the most talked about quarterback prospects in college football. And if the junior applies for early eligibility to enter the 2016 draft after the season, NFL teams could be talking about Lynch before anyone else, according to Sports Illustrated.

In a feature detailing Lynch's rise from a lightly recruited Wing-T quarterback in high school to one of college football's best passers, a college coach told SI's Inside Read that five NFL scouts told him the 6-foot-7, 240-pound Lynch is likely to be the first quarterback selected next year. Another scout said Lynch projects as a mid-first-round pick.

Lynch, for his part, isn't concerning himself with where he'll be playing football next year. Not with Memphis at 7-0. The team is poised to win the American Athletic Conference, and it could play in a prestigious "New Year's Six" bowl game.

"It's crazy," Lynch said. "In the end, I'm just worried about winning each game each week. If I'm fortunate enough to have that opportunity when the season's over to get drafted, I'll sit down and talk with Coach (Justin) Fuente and my parents about that. But right now, I'm just doing what I got to do to help my team win ballgames."

Fuente, Memphis' head coach, said Lynch has more room to develop than Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton did at the same stage of his career. Fuente was Dalton's position coach at TCU.

"[Paxton hasn't] topped out," Fuente said. "When I had Andy Dalton as a junior, he was as big and strong and as good a player as he was going to be. Paxton's still a kid as a junior. He's got plenty left."

That's impressive, considering Lynch has thrown 17 touchdown passes to only one interception this season, and picked up a signature win with a 37-24 upset of Ole Miss two weeks ago. Averaging 338 passing yards per game, he joins Cal junior Jared Goff and Michigan State senior Connor Cook among the most highly regarded quarterbacks in the nation. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein has also spoken to an NFL scout who had praise for Lynch's potential, while analyst Bucky Brooks recently wrote that Lynch's stock with scouts is on the rise.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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