Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch 'impressive, natural' in combine interviews
During the NFL scouting combine, Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch met with several NFL teams for formal interviews that included detailed questions about his knowledge of football and his character.
And Lynch made a strong impression on NFL personnel executives with his X's and O's acumen along with his personality. One NFC personnel director said Lynch was sharp, comfortable and natural in his answers, not appearing scripted as many draft prospects tend to be in that pressure-filled environment.
"Lynch was impressive," an AFC personnel director said. "We liked what he had to say and how he did on the board."
A towering prospect at 6-7, 245 pounds who ran the Wing-T offense in high school growing up in Florida, Lynch ran the 40-yard dash in 4.86 seconds with a 36-inch vertical leap. He also flashed a big arm during throwing drills.
While Lynch is still working on refining his overall game and had some raw moments during a throwing session, he's an intriguing quarterback with a ton of upside.
Lynch's formal interviews included the Houston Texans, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Rams, New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals.
For the season, the Florida native passed for 3,777 yards, 28 touchdowns and four interceptions. Lynch didn't have a strong finish to his college career in the Birmingham Bowl against Auburn, completing 16 of 37 passes for 106 yards and an interception.
"I've always relied on my athletic ability with my size and arm strength in college," Lynch said. "I know that's going to be different in the NFL. Those guys are a lot faster and those windows are a lot smaller and those defenses do a lot more tricky stuff than they do in college.
"When I finally get to minicamp or rookie camp, I'll know how different it is. But it's obviously going to take some time to adjust. But I'm ready and excited for it."
Lynch will be adjusting to playing under center rather than the shotgun and calling plays from the huddle.
"That's not something I see as a struggle, as long as I work on it," Lynch said. "I know some of the pass protections are similar, just different terminology. And small things here and there. But as long as I get to work, I don't see it as something I can't handle."
"I'm not sure what situation I'm going to get put into. However a team needs to use me, that's how I'm going to be. I'm going to be a team guy, I'm not about myself. If it's coming in and sitting behind a guy, I'm still going to compete and push him. That's how teams get better. But if it's a team where I need to start, I'm going to formulate a plan and get to work."
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Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.
Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he's a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.