QB #12 Paxton Lynch, Memphis*

6’7” – 245 lbs. – 4.70e

Redshirted in 2012, then took over the starting quarterback job the following season, struggling all season before making major strides in every area as a sophomore. Took the next step the following season, playing highly efficient football. Very tall quarterback who operates out of the shotgun. Has some mobility and often rolls out to either side to escape pressure, extending the play; however, will run himself into trouble by putting his blockers in a difficult position or giving defenders a clear path to him. Does a little bit of work on designed runs from the shotgun as well, showcasing the ability to gain a few yards at the expense of taking too many big hits from his aggressive running style. Throws with a three-quarters angle with a quick release which is well-suited to the type of short passing game he operates, one which features plenty of screen passes. Touch is impressive when throwing the ball downfield. Produces a nice spiral with decent accuracy, even though he doesn’t step into many of his throws; however, doesn’t always place the ball well enough to facilitate yards after the catch. Despite playing in an offense with its foundations in screens of various sorts, clearly has excellent arm strength based on the amount of zip he gets on his passes and the fact that he’s able to generate it without transferring his weight; makes impressive deep throws or cross-body throws on the run with ease, but given his arm talent, he shouldn’t be forcing receivers to scoop tunnel screens off the ground. Accuracy problems should be manageable with some work on effective weight transfer. Hasn’t been asked to go through many progressions when operating from the pocket, but is a confident improviser who creates a lot of opportunities on broken plays. Makes some dangerous throws into coverage, sometimes by trusting his arm enough to throw into impossible windows, sometimes seemingly because he hasn’t anticipated a defender being there. A very tall quarterback with exceptional arm talent, impressive confidence, and enough athleticism to challenge defenses, Lynch will be making a fairly large transition to the pro level in terms of learning to take snaps from under center, go through progressions, and disguise his intentions with his eyes, but clearly won’t have any trouble with the physical demands of the pro game and can make every throw. May be further from being ready than his numbers would indicate, but looks likely to be the top quarterback picked in 2016, perhaps even the first pick overall.

Games watched: Houston (’15), Mississippi (’15), Tulsa (’15)

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