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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Getting to Know Paxton Lynch

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Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Draft: Getting to Know Paxton Lynch

Following up with my Getting to Know Jared Goff article, it’s time for us to get to know Paxton Lynch.

This is a little different of a project from Goff. While Goff seems like the more pro-ready quarterback, Lynch offers more potential promise.

Paxton Lynch is the kind of player that you look at and get amazed. He has the size, the strength and incredible athleticism for someone of that size. He can make every throw as well as play some read-option or scramble if needed.

Lynch will draw comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger and Blake Bortles due to his size and mobility. I don’t necessarily agree with those comparisons.

When I watch Paxton Lynch i think of Cam Newton prior to this season. The Cam Newton who often threw too hard and missed his targets. The Cam Newton who panicked under pressure and didn’t show the natural calmness when in the pocket to deliver throws. Mix Cam Newton with Joe Flacco and it creates Paxton Lynch’s potential ceiling. Lynch has the size and arm strength of Joe Flacco with more athleticism.

Newton was obviously way more polished than Lynch is when he came into the NFL. For that reason, I think it would be a huge mistake for a team to start him quickly on the NFL level. Lynch never faced the top notch defenses that would make his life more difficult.

Lynch played against Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl and didn’t look good at all. He struggled mightily with his ball placement in this game. Under pressure a lot, Lynch had multiple chances to convert key first downs and often came up short by either placing the ball terribly for incompletions or making it hard to create run-after-catch for the receivers.

How do you fix Paxton Lynch?

I think the game needs to slow down for him. When you have a guy with the tools that he has, the promise is there. We have seen him completely dominate games, but when the talent level increases I worry about him. Think about Matthew Stafford in a tough game or Cam Newton in years past. When things get bad, they get really bad for Lynch. He loses his fundamentals, his poise slips away, his decision-making flutters.

Cowboys Draft: Getting to Know Paxton Lynch – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

In the above video, you’ll see something that seems to reoccur with Lynch. His screen passes often get away from him and end up placed poorly. While it is a screen, it is a microcosm of problems that Lynch has. He is pressured, so it causes him to get off of his fundamentals, footwork is poor and he makes it tough for the run after the catch.

Lynch also needs to learn how to use his arm strength. Strong quarterbacks tend to try and rip the ball through receivers, causing them to lose their touch. There are certain times that dictate to use maximum arm strength and others where they should use more touch. Lynch will miss the mark at times due to this problem. He will throw into trouble sometimes because he is overestimating his arm strength.

Cowboys Draft: Getting to Know Paxton Lynch – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Look at that arm strength! There aren’t many quarterbacks who can do this. Lynch is scrambling, sets his feet and then fires a rocket down to his right. These are the type of unteachable traits that make scouts love Lynch.

Lynch’s footwork can also be attributed to his lack of accuracy at times. It all goes together. With a huge arm, Lynch thinks he can get away with some shoddy footwork. Correct his footwork and you will see much better accuracy, touch and placement.

When Lynch learns and fixes his fundamentals, relaxes and lets the game come to him, learns when to use touch and when to use accuracy and learns the game a little better, he can become one of the top NFL QBs. Lynch’s ceiling is much higher than the rest of the quarterbacks in this draft class. I think his floor is also lower than most quarterbacks in this class as well.

Cowboys Draft: Getting to Know Paxton Lynch – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

This is what you may be able to get if you coach Lynch up. This is just a rare skill shown here. How Lynch can make this throw is unimaginable. He scrambles right, sets, throws and drops it in the tiniest window for the touchdown.

It comes down to whether or not Lynch has the mental strength to endure all of these changes. Will he work to improve? Will he wrap his head around the mental side of the game? It has to all click for Lynch. There is a canvas for greatness, it just all has to come together.

You then have to wonder about his scheme fit and how he translates to the NFL game. Lynch runs a spread offense. There are a lot of screen passes and short quick hitters. Can Lynch read defenses as a whole and run a more traditional offense?

The Cowboys do something almost completely different. Their offense is predicated on reads and accuracy. Throw receivers open, hit them in stride, see things open before they open, make the correct reads and adjustments at the line of scrimmage etc. A lot of this is put together to match the strengths of Tony Romo.

You can mold Paxton Lynch to fit what Dallas does. If you were telling me they would draft Lynch and start him right away, I would say absolutely not. It will take time to mold Lynch to fit comfortably in Dallas. With the natural abilities that he has and the glimpses of greatness, Lynch can be a great fit in Dallas.

Lynch will have to work with Tony Romo, Wade Wilson, Jason Garrett and others to improve his footwork, his understanding of defenses and pre-snap reads and when to make certain types of throws.

In a sense, working with Romo can really help just like it would with Jared Goff.

While Jared Goff is extremely similar to Jared Goff and Romo can help him learn from his mistakes to make Goff even better, Romo’s strengths translate to Lynch’s weaknesses. Romo would be able to teach Lynch where to place balls, something Romo has taught himself and mastered. Romo is another athlete in the pocket and has always used that to escape pressure and make plays in the passing game. Lynch can be even better at that as he is more athletic, harder to bring down and can take off and run for huge gains.

Paxton Lynch would scare me if you told me he was going to start next season. I would mock him in the top of the first round, but I think he could be massively disappointing in some of these situations where he’d be considered to start as a rookie. With the Cowboys, this is the optimal landing spot for Lynch if you want him to succeed. Lynch will be able to learn and you will get the most out of him.

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I've been blogging about sports and music for almost eight years now. I also work in media relations for a New York sports team, so I understand the bridge between the outlets writing about a team and the team monitoring content. I hope to bring something new to Inside The Star, getting deep into draft work, breakdowns and I always come with a strong and passionate opinion. I'm very active on Twitter, so ask questions, comment on stuff, etc. and I will almost definitely respond to you in some sort of debate!

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2 Comments
  • Freddy T.

    Great article I hope Jerry Jones reads this one and does the right thing and drafts Paxton Lynch .True Cowboys Fan for life

  • JMA

    I'd be delighted taking Lynch, but we could trade down a few spaces easily and pick up a 2nd or 3rd, depending on who the other team is.

NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Time for OL in Round 1 Again?

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Draft: Time for OL in Round 1 Again?
Brad Loper / The Dallas Morning News

Four of the five starting offensive linemen for the Dallas Cowboys were first round selections in the NFL Draft. Left Tackle Tyron Smith, Center Travis Frederick, and most recently Right Guard Zack Martin have all done their part in establishing the Cowboys’ identity up front — collectively signaling a culture change in Dallas as the team has thrived with their running game.

Considered a bust prior to starting alongside Frederick and (mostly) Smith at left guard for the Cowboys this season, Jonathan Cooper is also a former first-round pick who will now enter free agency. Add in the once projected first-round status of RT La’el Collins, and the Cowboys offensive line is truly a modern football masterpiece — a crafty collection of talent that does well to not handicap the team’s salary cap.

Coming off of a 9-7 season defined by who wasn’t on the field through crucial stretches, a serious case could be made that no absence set the Cowboys back more than that of Tyron Smith in 2017. Lingering back issues remaining a concern, Smith missed three games entirely this season, also exiting the Cowboys’ final home loss to the Seahawks after one series.

Without Tyron Smith in the lineup, the Cowboys did their best to get franchise QB Dak Prescott killed. In a loss that began with a stretch of three straight in week 10 at Atlanta, Prescott was sacked eight times with Chaz Green unable to hold up at LT.

Chaz Green

Dallas Cowboys OT Chaz Green

Thinking all the way back to training camp in Oxnard, Green was originally the favorite to be the Cowboys’ starter at LG, after Collins made his transition to RT. Starting Cooper allowed the Cowboys to instead keep the injury-prone Green as tackle depth off the field, having Collins as additional insurance inside should the line be forced to reshuffle.

Of course, Cooper also did not survive 2017 without injury, departing the Cowboys’ meaningless week-17 win in Philadelphia with a knee injury. All indications are that he should be ready for next season, whether he is with the Cowboys or elsewhere.

This sudden uncertainty on the Cowboys’ offensive line warrants this question:

Should Dallas use the 19th pick on another offensive lineman?

The Cowboys could get maximum value out of this pick by drafting a tackle with the ability to start his career at guard. In a draft class that lacks “star power” at the top, where the best overall player may be Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson, making this safe pick at 19th overall is far from the worst thing the Cowboys could do.

In doing so, there is no hiding the fact the Cowboys would have to ignore more pressing needs elsewhere on both sides of the ball. Plugging Jonathan Cooper back in at left guard, and looking for depth behind Smith later in the draft or in free agency could open up the board elsewhere in the first round. If recent history is any indication, this will basically be the Cowboys approach leading up to the draft.

The Cowboys don’t like entering the draft pigeonholed at any one position, allowing them to draft the best player available.

Last year’s draft also tells us a pure “BPA in round one” approach is far from reality for the Cowboys, as Head Coach Jason Garrett made his winning pitch for Michigan DE Taco Charlton over other highly graded prospects in Dallas.

Dallas Cowboys: What's The One Thing That Makes The OL Great? 1

Dallas Cowboys LT Tyron Smith, RG Zack Martin, C Travis Frederick

Knowing how well this current front office and scouting staff evaluates offensive line talent, making the greatest strength even stronger feels like one of the most reassuring ways for the Cowboys to return to form in 2018. Expecting 16 games out of Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys could be much closer to the 13-win team they were in 2016, or 12-win team of 2014 with a better-than-ever OL and healthy defense.

As the Cowboys roster stands currently, there aren’t many positions where immediate starters could be drafted in the first round or beyond.

Defensive tackle, linebacker, safety, and wide receiver stand out as four potential areas in need of young talent.

Whether or not the team feels like they can wait to continue building their fast-developing defense or add weapons for Prescott until later in the draft — or wait to risk seeing their offensive line actually hold them back again — is going to be a difficult decision that will leave some fans unhappy, no matter the outcome.

For a talented team with ten picks in this 2018 NFL Draft, starting the roster build in April by hitting on a potentially needed OL pick at 19th overall feels like a great way to get the Cowboys back on track.

Tell us what you think about “Cowboys Draft: Time for OL in Round 1 Again?” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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NFL Draft

Sean’s Scout: UTSA’s Marcus Davenport Fills Pass Rush Need for Cowboys

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: UTSA's Marcus Davenport Fills Pass Rush Need for Cowboys
Daniel Dunn / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It is not often at all that a team picking 19th overall may be out of range to draft a small school prospect, but this is rightfully the case for the Dallas Cowboys and UTSA’s Marcus Davenport. For scouts who only care about how these prospects can help their NFL teams, Davenport has all of the traits to be an impact defensive end the second he enters the league.

Should the Cowboys find themselves in position to draft Marcus Davenport in the first round, he would fill an immediate need as another pure pass rusher to pair with DeMarcus Lawrence.

Firmly a first round player on my 2018 NFL Draft Board, let’s take a closer look at Davenport’s potential fit in Dallas.

Davenport5 – Streamable

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What is most exciting about Davenport’s projection to the NFL is that he’s an ideal right defensive end prospect that played mostly on the left side in college. That means Davenport is stout against the run as a powerful player who also displays freakish speed, dip, and balance as a quarterback hunter.

“Simply forcing offensive tackles to respect his rare combination of speed and dip allows Marcus Davenport to knock them backwards with hands-above-eyes technique.”

Davenport1 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

This quote and accompanying film clip comes from my full scouting report on Marcus Davenport on Slant Sports. There simply aren’t many EDGE prospects at the top of any given draft as complete as Davenport, while still showing elite upside to get even better.

Davenport does not exactly have a plan for each of his rushes, but pointing him at the quarterback on every play from the RDE spot in Dallas could do him nothing but good from day one. This is a player who captures the corner with ease, thanks to his burst and length, doing so with the balance to absolutely punish blockers.

When Marcus Davenport hits someone, they go backwards. This is a great thing to say about any defensive prospect, particularly a pass rusher who can also bend the corner.

Davenport4 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

“There simply aren’t many snaps on which he allows a blocker to work inside of his frame.”

The only slight projection that has to be made on Davenport playing defensive end with the Cowboys is his transition from playing mostly in a two-point stance to putting his hand on the ground. This technical change does little to affect a defensive end’s pass rush approach.

The strength Marcus Davenport shows in his hands is absolutely stunning, and equally as impressive is his controlled acceleration ability. These two traits alone are more than enough to expect Davenport to be able to beat left tackles at the next level with consistency, attacking them before they can reach this lengthy prospect.

“Tapping into Davenport’s full potential could be as simple as getting him in the habit of rushing the half man on every rep, but expecting him to do so right away is a projection.”

With Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli notorious for getting the most out of his defensive linemen, there is no question that Dallas is an ideal landing spot for Marcus Davenport to instantly reach his full potential.

The key to unleashing Davenport on the NFL will be teaching the mental aspects of the position to a player who dominated with raw traits in college.

Davenport3 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

The Cowboys have some numbers to sort out at defensive end before the draft, as the likes of Charles Tapper and Randy Gregory could potentially give them enough of a presence across from Lawrence to warrant looking elsewhere with the 19th overall pick.

Of course, Dallas also used last year’s first selection on DE Taco Charlton — who took major strides in his game towards the end of 2017.

None of this should deter them from reinforcing their defensive front with another versatile pass rusher.

Marcus Davenport has a legitimate case to come off the board within the first 15 picks of the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, making him a great value for the Cowboys, slated to pick 19th.

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

My latest scouting report is UTSA’s Marcus Davenport. Get to know this tenacious EDGE prospect — https://t.co/Fm9FYpNvsT https://t.co/DBcLiQEYhP

Tell us what you think about “Sean’s Scout: UTSA’s Marcus Davenport Fills Pass Rush Need for Cowboys” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Land Small School WR in Latest PFF Mock Draft

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Land Small School WR In Latest PFF Mock Draft
Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post

It’s officially draft season around the NFL, meaning — whether you like it or not — it’s now mock draft season. Pro Football Focus is the latest of the national football media outlets to release a mock draft. Their version of the draft was controversial towards the top, but their pick for the Cowboys was equally intriguing.

PFF has the Cowboys taking Colorado State Wide Receiver Michael Gallup, with the 19th overall pick, a player they graded with a 92.1 in 2017.

“Dallas could go a number of ways here, but they add another receiving threat in Gallup, who can win with speed down the field and toughness at the catch point. He was the nation’s top-graded receiver in 2017 at 92.1 overall, and he adds another weapon for QB Dak Prescott.”

Personally, I’m a huge fan of Michael Gallup. As I stated in my scouting report of Michael Gallup for Slant Sports, I believe he is one of the top-five receivers in the 2018 draft class. Gallup caught 100 passes last season for Colorado State, finishing with 1,413 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns.

At 6’1″ and about 200 pounds, Michael Gallup is the perfect productive Z receiver that any NFL offense would want.

nfldraft2018 michael gallup 2 – Streamable

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Gallup is a smart, athletic, and tough wide out, with consistent hands and excellent ball tracking skills. He was incredibly productive in college, and should be able to contribute to an NFL offense right away as a rookie.

Drafting Gallup in the first round, however, may not be the best move.

I think he’s a fantastic day-two option for the Cowboys. But if they were to pass on Vita Vea and Roquan Smith for Michael Gallup, as they did in this PFF mock draft, I don’t think Cowboys Nation would be too happy.

Of course, this is just one of many mock drafts circling around the inter-webs, but Michael Gallup would be a great fit for the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas desperately needs this type of wide out in their offense, but I hope they can get him 50th overall, rather than 19th.

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