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.
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.
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.
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.