QB Paxton Lynch a towering option for Eagles

Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, who stands 6-foot-7, will display his skills and athleticism on Saturday at the combine.
Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, who stands 6-foot-7, will display his skills and athleticism on Saturday at the combine. (Associated Press)
Posted: February 28, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS - The last time NFL scouts watched Paxton Lynch on the field, it was a forgettable Birmingham Bowl performance when Lynch completed only 43.2 percent of his passes and threw an interception with no touchdowns for Memphis in a 31-10 loss to Auburn.

Two months have passed, and Lynch is viewed behind Cal's Jared Goff and North Dakota State's Carson Wentz among quarterbacks in this spring's draft. Lynch can try to change that - or at least boost his stock - when he throws at the scouting combine on Saturday.

"The stuff that's kind of happened - Jared went to a Pac-12 school, which is a Power Five conference, and Carson just got out of the Senior Bowl - those guys are getting the hype they deserve," Lynch said. "My last game was Auburn, so it left a bad taste in people's mouth. But I'm excited for the combine and getting to work against these guys."

The Eagles will be among the teams watching closely. Lynch is a potential first-round pick for the Eagles, who are expected to be in the market for a rookie quarterback regardless of Sam Bradford's future. The team had an informal meeting with Lynch, who said he did not know which teams he will meet for official interviews at the combine.

But for the on-field part of the job interview, Lynch has a skill set that could tantalize. He measured at 6-foot-7 and 244 pounds with hands that are 101/4 inches. He will go through athletic testing on Saturday, including the 40-yard dash, and he's expected to display athleticism uncommon for his size. His arm strength also resembles an NFL starter's.

Lynch would become one of the tallest quarterbacks in the NFL. He said it allows him to see over a defense better than other quarterbacks, although defenders can better see him, too.

In a setting like the combine, Lynch is the type of prospect who could raise his stock. However, he's not considered a ready-made prospect and could require seasoning before he's atop a depth chart.

"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."

In discussions with teams, Lynch became aware that NFL schemes are different than those he ran from Memphis. He understands he is going to need to know how to operate from under center, although more teams are using the shotgun on the majority of downs - including the Eagles in recent season. Depending on his team, he's going to have to be able to call plays from the huddle instead of looking to the sideline.

"But 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."

Lynch is not averse to sitting on the bench, which coach Doug Pederson has hinted is his preference in developing a quarterback. Pederson said teams "don't have patience" - especially with first-round quarterbacks - but he said the ideal situation is to have a starter in place and bring the rookie along the way the Green Bay Packers did with Brett Favre.

"I'm not sure what situation I'm going to get put into," Lynch said. "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."

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said earlier this week that if the Eagles like Lynch and he's available at No. 13, "they'd better take him, even if he didn't play one snap this year."

The Eagles will be better able to stack up Lynch against his peers on Saturday, when all the quarterbacks are expected to take part in passing drills. For Lynch, it's a chance to change the impression he left the last time he was seen.

"It was a no-brainer I was going to throw," Lynch said. "I wanted to be able to complete and show those coaches and GMs what they could get in person when I'm throwing to those receivers live. I know those guys are going to be ready to compete. It should be a lot of fun."

zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm

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