Mayock: Jets, Paxton Lynch a fit, but Bills might not let it happen

Paxton Lynch and the New York Jets could make for a nice match with the No. 20 overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft next week, but the club might have to cross its fingers when the Buffalo Bills pick just ahead of them at No. 19.

That's the range NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock sees as the draft-day sweet spot for the former Memphis quarterback, who's expected to be the third player chosen at the position.

"Even if they sign (Ryan) Fitzpatrick, I don't know how long of a term they'd be talking about. ... They've got to be evaluating the heck out of Paxton Lynch," Mayock said during a media teleconference Friday.

With blockbuster trades putting the Rams and Eagles in position to make quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz the first two picks of the draft, speculation has been that Lynch could benefit collaterally and perhaps get the call in the top 10. Mayock isn't so sure.

"San Francisco's got a need at No. 7 but I don't think they're going to pull the trigger on Paxton Lynch that early. If you start looking down the board, Chicago, I think they think Cutler's going to be there. New Orleans ... you keep sliding down the board, 15, 16, 17, 18, they all have quarterbacks," Mayock said. "Buffalo at 19 and the Jets at 20 are the two logical ones. That's about where he should go. I don't know if the Jets need to (trade) up or not, but they do need to be aware of Buffalo."

Here are five other things we learned from Mayock on Friday:

  1. Laremy Tunsil as the draft's top offensive lineman is not necessarily the consensus view among NFL clubs.

"There's been some Ronnie Stanley momentum among the top 10 teams, even over Laremy Tunsil," Mayock said. "I think the conversation is that Tunsil might be a better athlete today, but Stanley's a better run blocker and his feet are really close. As an evaluation, they're very close. Stanley has no off-field issues, and there are some teams that really like Stanley."

  1. Off-field issues for Dallas Cowboys defensive linemen have painted the club into something of a corner with the No. 4 overall pick.

Mayock cited the club's turbulent season with Greg Hardy, who is now a free agent, and the suspensions of Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence among the reasons why Joey Bosa might be the only direction the club can go with its first choice. At the same time, Dallas must do its homework on Bosa himself, who was suspended for Ohio State's season-opener last year.

"I think they've been boxed in because of what's happened to their roster on the defensive side," Mayock said.

  1. Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith's draft status is anyone's guess. With NFL clubs under the impression that a 2017 return from a severe knee injury is the Butkus Award winner's best-case scenario, anything could happen on Smith -- including a wait lasting into Day 3 (Rounds 4-7).

"Jaylon Smith getting taken with a compensatory (late) pick in third or fourth round wouldn't surprise me at all," Mayock said.

  1. Mayock made few outright predictions on first-round picks Friday, and here was one:

Presuming Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are gone with the first two picks, a correct Mayock prediction on the Chargers' choice would set up an interesting outcome for Tunsil. If there's one thing the Dallas Cowboys (No. 4 pick) don't have a first-round need for, it's an offensive lineman. If the Cowboys also pass on him, that would leave Tunsil available to Jacksonville, Baltimore, or some other team in the top 10 that, a month ago, could never have guessed it would have a shot at the prospect widely considered to be the draft's best.

  1. While Derrick Henry is the headliner running back from Alabama, Mayock called his backup, Kenyan Drake, a more intriguing prospect. Why? Versatility. Drake not only has kickoff-return skills, but can also provide help on coverage units, including as a gunner for a punt unit. Add to that his ability to catch the ball and make explosive plays with outstanding speed and quickness, and you have a player who can "do more jobs."

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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