Paxton Lynch intends to apply for early entry into 2016 NFL Draft

Memphis junior quarterback Paxton Lynch has decided he's ready to make the jump to the NFL.

Lynch announced at a press conference Thursday morning that he'll apply for early entry into the 2016 NFL Draft. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport first reported his intentions. Agent Leigh Steinberg announced on Thursday that he's agreed to represent Lynch.

Some consider Lynch the top QB prospect in college football. Another contender for that title, Cal quarterback Jared Goff, announced later on Thursday that he will apply for early draft eligibility, too.

Lynch had a very rough outing Wednesday in a Birmingham Bowl loss to Auburn. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks watched that performance and several others from Lynch's 2015 season -- Brooks wrote that he came away with serious concerns about Lynch's game and readiness for the NFL. He compared the QB to Miami Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill and wrote that he sees Lynch "as a developmental prospect who will need time to grow into the position" at the next level.

Certainly, the case could be made that Lynch would have been benefited from another year of seasoning in the college ranks. However, former Oakland Raiders scout Bruce Kebric recently said Goff is a top-five pick, but the No. 2 QB prospect behind Lynch. Five different scouts told Sports Illustrated in October that Lynch is likely to be the first QB picked in 2016. Former Chicago Bears director of college scouting polled four NFL evaluators in November and reported that all said Lynch is the No. 1 QB prospect in college football.

Despite his struggles in Wednesday's bowl loss, Lynch has long been highly touted, and it's no surprise that he's decided to move on to the pros.

The big question that QB-needy NFL teams will try to answer in the months to come is whether any of the QBs available in the 2016 draft are worthy of being selected toward the top of the draft.

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