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.
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.
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.
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.
Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?
You may not be aware or maybe you've simply forgotten, but the Dallas Cowboys have struggled drafting players in the 2nd-round who can come in and contribute. Typically players drafted this highly are not only immediate contributors as a rookie, but are cornerstone players for years to come. That hasn't been the case for the Cowboys.
I don't know where you stand, but I was beginning to think the Dallas Cowboys were cursed with their 2nd-round draft picks. I know this was an area where they would gamble on players for some reason or another, but unfortunately it never really paid off. Hopefully, things are changing for the better.
Let's take a look back at past drafts to see what I'm talking about.
Past 2nd-Round Draft Picks Dating Back to 2006:
2018 Connor Williams
2017 Chidobe Awuzie
2016 Jaylon Smith
2015 Randy Gregory
2014 DeMarcus Lawrence
2013 Gavin Escobar
2012 (no selection) used to trade for Morris Claiborne
2011 Bruce Carter
2010 Sean Lee
2009 (no selection) traded out of 2nd-round
2008 Martellus Bennett
2007 (no selection) used to trade back into 1st for Anthony Spencer
2006 Anthony Fasano
You may be wondering why I decided to start all the way back in 2006. Well, I believe that's when the 2nd-round draft picks curse started for the Dallas Cowboys.
Anthony Fasano ended up having a solid career in the NFL, but he never lived up to his draft status as a former 2nd-round draft pick. The same can be said for Martellus Bennett, Gavin Escobar, and Bruce Carter. Shed a tear for them if you want, but I'd put them in the "bust" category.
The sad truth is, Sean Lee is the only 2nd-round draft pick on this list to ever see a second contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Although, I guess you can include DeMarcus Lawrence since he will be playing under the franchise tag in 2018. But, that's still not a very good hit percentage in the 2nd-round for more than a decade. Luckily, it looks as if things are changing.
DeMarcus Lawrence might end up being another "hit" for the Cowboys. It may have taken him four years to reach his potential, but there's no denying how dominant he was last season. If he can maintain that dominance this season, he could be looking at a big payday from the Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys took a risk on the next two players they drafted after D-Law. They knew Randy Gregory had his off the field issues, but were willing to take a chance on his talent in the 2nd-round. That has yet to pay off, but Gregory has a chance to rebound now that it looks as if he has his life back in order.
The Cowboys took another risk in the following draft when they drafted Jaylon Smith. No one knew if he would ever be able to play again after the devastating knee injury he sustained in his final collegiate game, but it's looking as if he could make a full recovery and return to his pre-injury form. Year 3 will be big for him, but he could end up being an absolute steal.
Fortunately, the Cowboys 2017 and 2018 2nd-round draft picks (Chidobe Awuzie and Connor Williams) look to be cornerstone players for years to come. That's what you're looking for in players drafted this highly.
I say all of this because it's really looking like the Dallas Cowboys have finally broken their 2nd-round curse. Maybe it's a change in draft philosophy or maybe it's because Will McClay's voice carries more weight in the draft room, but it's definitely good news for the future of the franchise. Hopefully it continues.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys 2nd-round curse has ended?
Cowboys Draft Class: How Many Will Be Starters In 2018?
The Dallas Cowboys have been showered with praise by most national NFL media outlets for their 2018 NFL Draft class. NFL.com graded the Cowboys as having the 2nd best class in the league, and most other analysts have agreed that the team had a strong showing.
But now, of course, it's time to see what these new players will actually do on the field. Some are hoping the team found 3-5 new starters for the 2018 roster, but history would suggest that is pretty rare.
Dallas' 2016 draft class has been lauded as one of the best in the last decade, especially considering they look to have found their franchise quarterback in round four. That strong class only features four full-time starters heading into 2018, but we have to wonder if that's the outlier and not the norm.
Still, as we look back and examine this 2018 draft class it really appears they have found three day one starters in the first three rounds.
First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is expected to be the starting MIKE linebacker this season, with former second round selection Jaylon Smith moving to SAM. Vander Esch wasn't my favorite option at 19, but he is certainly starter-worthy in this Cowboys LB corps.
On day two the Cowboys added OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup, two of my personal favorite picks of their entire class. Williams should be the starting LG week 1 of the season, and Michael Gallup may overtake Allen Hurns as the most productive WR on the roster by year's end.
What about the rest of the class?
Dorance Armstrong will probably have too much competition to start at defensive end this season, but he should be an interesting rotational pass rusher. TE Dalton Schultz has the chance to surprise some people, but overtaking Geoff Swaim as the "starter" would be unexpected.
After that, the player with the best chance to make the team and contribute early on might be Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson. Wilson was a late day-two, early day-three pick to me so snagging him in the sixth round should provide incredible value to this roster. That wide out room is getting very crowded, though, so Wilson has his work cut out for him heading into camp.
How many of the Cowboys' 2018 draft picks will be starters in 2018? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?
One of the many winners of the 2018 NFL Draft were, without a doubt, the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they addressed some of the team's most pressing needs, but they managed to draft very talented, capable players beyond the first round.
Cowboys Nation had to feel better about the rookie class the front office walked away with, specially after the second day of the Draft. Just like last year, they managed to find steals in the second and third rounds. In 2017, they did so with Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Now, they stayed put at their original picks and walked away with OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup.
But first things first. In the eyes of many, Leighton Vander Esch wasn't worth the 19th overall pick. While I do agree that Vander Esch was a questionable selection, the Cowboys fixed arguably their most concerning position of all. As much as it pains to admit it, Sean Lee has yet to play an entire NFL season and Jaylon Smith was pretty much the only other capable starter on the roster.
Although Vander Esch needs to develop a ton before reaching his full potential. he's a week 1 starter and an early contributor for this defense. Whether it felt like a "reach" or not, the Cowboys took a starter in the Boise State linebacker.
Later, the Cowboys managed to add an arguably first-round talent with pick #50 to plug-and-play along the offensive line. Texas OL Connor Williams was also seen as a tackle prospect, but he'll likely start at guard for Dallas as a rookie.
Since Ron Leary left for Denver, the left guard spot hasn't been as stable. Jonathan Cooper did a decent job filling that spot, but with Williams taking his place, the Cowboys dominance in the trenches will finally return. Playing next to All-Pros Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, Connor Williams might become the best rookie in this class for the Cowboys.
One can't simply say the team found a "replacement" for Dez Bryant since he's a special player and with a very specific skill set, but Michael Gallup from Colorado State has the potential to become the team's WR1 pretty soon.
In the team's effort to build a Dak-friendly offense, Gallup is a crafty and smooth route-runner who has what it takes to play in any spot of the offense. His skill-set will allow him to play anywhere on the field and become Dak's favorite target in a year in which Jason Witten and Dez Bryant will no longer be lining up on his squad.
Taken in the first three rounds, Vander Esch, Williams and Gallup will be unquestionable starters. The question, however, is who else could become a starter for the Cowboys? Who could line up and start in week 1?
Even though it definitely isn't as certain as the other three rookies, I'm betting on Dalton Schultz to be a more important starter than we imagine. Listen, maybe it's not an ideal scenario to have the TE from Stanford start in week 1, but it could be necessary.
The Rico Gathers Adventure might just be over before it starts and Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin may not be anything special. In college, Schultz was pretty good at run blocking. In the Cowboys' offense, led by one of the best running backs in the league, Ezekiel Elliott, Schultz may be able to find success earlier than expected.
Besides, he has what it takes to catch passes in the NFL and although he certainly won't be the flashiest, he could be enough to give Dak Prescott a reliable tight end.
Dalton Schultz could be the surprise of this Draft for Dallas. He'll probably become a starter at some point in the season and for a fourth-round pick, that's a very good thing to say.
For a front office that's constantly bashed by Cowboys Nation, their job at this year's NFL Draft was a pretty good one. Now it's just a matter of time to find out which picks were as good as we originally thought.
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