October 30, 2015 - Greg Gabriel
Breaking Down Memphis Quarterback Paxton Lynch
A player who has stepped up and made a name for himself so far in the 2015 college football season is Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. To date he has led Memphis to a perfect 7-0 record and a number 16 ranking. Lynch is a fourth-year junior and a three-year starter for the Tigers. The former three star player redshirted as a true freshman in 2012 and has been a starter the last three seasons. The thing that stands out about Lynch is that he has shown tremendous improvement in each of the last three seasons. According to many scouts and agents, Lynch will most likely enter the 2016 draft. In 2013 he completed 203 of 348 throws for a 58.2% completion percentage, 2056 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In 2014 he went 259 of 413 for 3031 yards, a 62.7% completion percentage, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions. This year he has completed 174 of 243 passes for a 71.6% completion rate, 2366 yards, 17 touchdowns and only one interception. He has also carried the ball 46 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Lynch is listed as being 6'7" – 245 but I don’t really think that he is that tall. He looks to be more on the 6'6" side. He has a lean frame with very good length. If he truly weighs 245, then he can easily add 10 pounds to his upper body as he looks thin and a bit underdeveloped. For his size, he is a very good athlete. I can say that he may be the most athletic tall quarterback I have ever seen. Most 6’5 or taller quarterbacks are very stationary but that isn’t the case with Lynch. He has quick feet, good speed and a burst. His overall body control is very good. Lynch plays from mostly a spread formation but he will take some snaps from under center. The Memphis offense is unlike many spread offenses in that they throw the ball down field a lot more than many of the current college spread offenses. That makes his 71% completion percentage that much more impressive. While there are a lot of half field type plays, you also see Lynch read the entire field and have to go through a progression and make decisions. To date this season, his decision making has been very good. You see him make good reads and he seldom forces throws. For a tall guy, Lynch has a fairly tight delivery and a quick release. Many tall quarterbacks have a very long delivery and that isn’t the case here. His arm strength is as good as any quarterback in college right now. For the most part he throws a tight catchable ball with very good zip. He shows he can throw on the run going to either his left or right. He can easily make all the throws you want an NFL quarterback to make. The biggest fault I see in Lynch’s mechanics is that he is very inconsistent with his footwork and staying in balance before his throws. When he sets his feet and steps into a throw he can really zing it with both accuracy and excellent ball placement. When he doesn’t set his feet, the ball can sail on him and he loses some accuracy. You see this both from in the pocket and when he throws on the run. Lynch shows poise in the pocket and doesn’t seem to rattle. He has a good feel for pass rushers and does a good job stepping up and making a good throw. With his athleticism he can avoid rushers and extend plays with his feet. Memphis uses some read options and Lynch is very effective when running these types of plays. He runs hard, has the ability to change direction on the move and shows a burst to pull away. As I said in the Connor Cook report, the physical aspect is only half the evaluation process with quarterbacks. His intelligence, leadership and overall football character have a lot to do with the where he will eventually getting drafted. Looking at just the physical, he has the makings of becoming a very good NFL quarterback who has the talent to start early in his career. Like most college quarterbacks he will need some work on his mechanics but the natural tools are there. If he plays the second half of the season like he has the first and the intangibles check out, he will be a very high selection in the draft. In fact it wouldn’t shock me if he was the first quarterback selected. He is way more talented than Blake Bortles was in the 2014 draft.