So let's take some time to zero in on one of the most intriguing quarterback prospects for the 2016 NFL Draft, Paxton Lynch. He's currently behind Jared Goff and Carson Wentz on most draft boards but there is an awful lot of upside with the former Memphis Tiger. He really jumped out to a lot of people during his breakout performance against Mississippi last season. Lynch threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against a team that boasts a bevy of NFL-caliber players on defense.
Of course, you can't celebrate his wins without taking note of that terrible loss to Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl. So what is the real story with Lynch? Let's take a look.
» Top-end height
» Agile moving in and out of the pocket
» Accurate deep ball
The first thing that hits you is just how tall he is. The dude is 6-foot-7. He was making the rounds at Radio Row prior to Super Bowl 50 and his size was pretty imposing. And while you hear scouts talk about a quarterback having good size, there is such a thing as a quarterback being too tall. I remember Dan McGwire playing quarterback when I was a kid, and it wasn't pretty. But there are some pretty big dudes who have been successful in recent years like Joe Flacco. And don't forget, Brock Osweiler recently got paid by the Houston Texans. So it's not going to hurt him.
But Lynch is pretty athletic for his size and he moves around the pocket well. However, he's not as athletic as Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. He's also not as thick as say, Ben Roethlisberger, but he does have the athleticism to tuck the ball and run when needed. But he showed in college that he would much rather use his athleticism to extend plays and allow his receivers to get open instead of just sprinting at the first sign of trouble. Which is great.
His deep throws stood out to me. Lynch hit on over 50 percent of passes that traveled over 20 yards in the air, the fifth-highest total in the nation. It's probably the best part of his game, and is the one thing that probably has the scouts the most excited for his NFL prospects. He's also a good decision maker, who won't kill you with turnovers. Some might see it as hesitancy, but in fantasy I want a young quarterback who isn't going to take his offense off the field with costly turnovers.
» Didn't play in a pro offense
» Needs to improve accuracy while moving
When you watched the Memphis receivers, you noticed there wasn't a lot of variety in their routes. You see the bubble screens, outs, hitches, nines and the like. You will also notice Lynch doesn't need to make a lot of progressions, either. A lot of the time he looked at his main receiver and then let it fly. That's something he's going to need to work on at the NFL level.
That's not to say that he can't make those reads, or work on them in the future. It's just going to be hard for Lynch to make an immediate impact in the NFL because he does need some added experience.
Ideal NFL fantasy fits
Lynch isn't going to have much of an impact on the fantasy universe this season. He's more of a project who could really benefit by going to team like the Cowboys. Lynch could take a year or two on the bench behind Tony Romo to study and improve his game. A team like the Rams could also take a chance on him, too. Lynch wouldn't immediately start in Los Angeles with Case Keenum expected to be the starter. But there is a chance Keenum will struggle (all right, a very real chance), forcing Lynch to be installed as the starter at some point during the year. Of course, there is also the real option Cleveland winds up with Lynch. And while he would be in better hands with Hue Jackson than all of his predecessors, it would be quite a leap for him to be an NFL starter in Week 1.
Early fantasy draft projection
I don't see a lot of opportunity for Lynch this coming season. He might be the guy I would nab in dynasty leagues if he lands in the right situation (like Dallas). But it's hard to imagine a scenario where he's going to walk into the league and be a credible fantasy force. It's hard for the high-pedigree guys like Luck and Newton to have that consistency, so I don't see it being feasible for Lynch this season.