I am just going to come right out and say it: Paxton Lynch does not look good on film. He possesses an above average arm. However, while watching him, I picked up on a lot of negative traits.
What the Film Shows
Memphis runs a spread offense geared towards easy completions with many screens, bubbles, and crossing routes. Despite that, there are plenty of missed throws on film to go along with a lot of “shaky” completions (misplaced balls despite the simplicity of the read and the throw). In the pocket, Lynch has dead feet, despite being billed as an “athletic” quarterback. He also does not throw a great deep ball.
Speaking of Lynch’s athleticism, I believe it’s greatly exaggerated. He looks great playing against American conference opponents, but when facing Ole Miss out of the SEC, Lynch’s athleticism was not much of an advantage at all. I doubt running will be much of a weapon for him once he faces NFL competition.
What His Numbers Say
Here are Lynch’s career numbers courtesy of Sports Reference:
I also broke down Lynch’s junior year by game, including the rank of the opposing pass defense based on Football Outsiders S&P+ Ratings:
|Bowling Green State||63||29||40||72.5||386||3||0||178.3|
Lynch’s statistics appear impressive on the surface, but when broken down using the S&P+ data, he appears to be somewhat fraudulent. Though he obliterated teams like SMU and Tulsa, he was exposed against Temple, the only team inside the top 40 of S&P+ on Memphis’ schedule. Additionally, Lynch struggled greatly against Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl, completing less than 50 percent of his passes and throwing an interception.
Lynch is similar to Jared Goff in that he improved every year as a passer, finishing with the same final year AYA. But unlike Goff, who posted a high completion percentage despite numerous drops, Lynch posted a high completion percentage despite numerous missed and poor throws. A better player would have hit closer to 70 percent of his passes in this Easy-Bake Memphis system.
Player Comparison: Kevin Kolb/Byron Leftwich
I couldn’t decide which signal caller matched up with Lynch the best, so I ultimately went with two. Kevin Kolb was a small-school passing dynamo who was thought to be somewhat of a threat on the ground, while Byron Leftwich played in a wide open Marshall system and had similar dead feet qualities. We can see by using the RotoViz Box Score Scout App just how similar the statistical profiles for these players were in their final collegiate season.
Kolb and Lynch are near carbon-copies of one another statistically, while Marshall did more through the air and less on the ground. Neither is a particularly promising comparison for Lynch.
Ideal Landing Spot: Texans
I’m expecting Lynch to slide a little bit on draft day, though I have seen some mocks with him as a top-five selection. Houston has pick 22, with a terrific defense, an elite wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins, but no quarterback (no, Brian Hoyer doesn’t count). They would be in a great position to try and let Lynch fall to them or potentially move up a few selections once he starts to slip. In any event, I think for Lynch to succeed he needs a creative offensive coach and elite weapons. Hopkins obviously satisfies the latter, and Texans head coach Bill O’Brien is one of the top offensive minds in the game. He could potentially make things work with Lynch.
Current 2QB Fantasy Rookie Draft Projection: Early-Mid 2nd Round (3rd Round in 1QB Leagues)
At this point, my projection sees Lynch as the third signal caller off the board in April. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will be taken third in fantasy drafts, but I doubt that he goes in the first round of rookie drafts, even in 2QB formats. Just how far he falls in the second will depend on your leaguemates and how much they love the landing spot for Lynch, as well as his “athleticism.”
Lynch is a mediocre prospect in my eyes, and is honestly more of a project than people want to believe. However, his ability to rack up big numbers against poor teams has him looking like a first round NFL selection. I think both NFL and fantasy teams alike would benefit from staying away from the raw Memphis quarterback. He is going to return less than Colin Kaepernick value in my opinion, and you will have to pay a much greater price than that to acquire him in all likelihood.
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