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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.



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

2 Comments

  1. Freddy T.

    January 15, 2016 at 12:16 pm

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

  2. JMA

    January 15, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    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.

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NFL Draft

Should the Dallas Cowboys Make Offensive Tackle a Draft Priority?

Brian Martin

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Should Dallas Cowboys Make Offensive Tackle a Draft Priority?

The 2019 NFL Draft will be an interesting one for the Dallas Cowboys. From the outside looking in it doesn't seem as if they have any clear "needs" that need to be addressed. But, if you were to dive deeper into their roster you'd probably discover things might not be as stable as we'd like to believe.

The Dallas Cowboys could obviously stand to upgrade several positions. So far this offseason wide receiver, tight end, and safety have been at the forefront of the discussion, but one position not being mentioned is offensive tackle. Why?

There has to be growing concerns within the organization about Tyron Smith's inability to stay healthy for an entire season. He has a bothersome back and it has continued to make him unavailable for at least two or three games these past few seasons. How much longer can they afford to roll the dice with his back issues?

Then there is La'el Collins, who is entering a contract year in 2019. Collins' best attribute during his time with the Cowboys is probably his availability. He's battled through some injuries himself these past couple years, but managed to play through it. Unfortunately though, his career has been up-and-down since taking over as the starting right tackle. It's probably time to find his successor.

La'el Collins

Dallas Cowboys RT La'el Collins

Sadly, Dallas doesn't have much offensive tackle depth behind Smith and Collins. Cameron Fleming, the Cowboys swing tackle in 2018, is now a free agent and is probably looking to join a team where he can earn a little more playing time. The only other OT candidate on the roster might be Connor Williams, but even that's an unknown sense he's never played tackle in the NFL.

I don't know what the Cowboys brass thinks of all of this, but I find it more than a little concerning. We know all too well what happens when the OT play isn't up to par. Chaz Green anyone!? That game alone against the Falcons is one we would all like to forget, but serves as a reminder of just how important it is to have an emergency plan in place.

The Cowboys of course have one or two ways of solidifying their tackle position. They can use free agency once again to find a swing tackle like they did with Cameron Fleming last year, or they can use one of their draft picks this year. The latter seems to be the wiser move, especially with Collins' contract coming to an end.

The Dallas Cowboys may have Tyron Smith and La'el Collins as their starters for the upcoming 2019 season, but it's never too early to start preparing for the future. That's why it wouldn't surprise me at all if Dallas used one of their draft picks this year on an offensive tackle. In fact, I'd encourage it.

I really like the idea of providing some competition at the RT position. If La'el Collins wins out fine. The rookie OT can then serve as the swing tackle and take over next season when Collins' contract expires. But, if the rookie wins Collins could also be become a trade asset. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Do you think offensive tackle should be a Dallas Cowboys draft priority?



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft Target: Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.

Since Kris Richard has taken over the back-end of the Dallas Cowboys defense, they have clearly shown a bias towards a "type" of cornerback. Richard, looking to build this Dallas unit in a similar form to his Seattle teams, has prioritized long corners both in height and arm length.

As his responsibilities within the organization increase, it's only fair to expect Kris Richard to have more say in who the Cowboys' defense acquires in terms of talent. This means we should anticipate more defensive backs who fit his type, such as Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr.

The Player

So why does Lonnie Johnson fit the mold of what Kris Richard tends to look for? Well, for starters, he is 6'3" and 206 lbs with 32 1/4" arms. He's a long corner with excellent size and the trait profile which indicates he could be the perfect candidate to play cornerback in Dallas.

But while he might look great on paper, the tape is always the most important factor for evaluating and projecting talent. And, for Johnson, the tape isn't all-that great. Despite his length, Johnson struggled mightily in press-man coverage at Kentucky. Too often he is late or ineffective with his hands, leaving him susceptible to being blown by by the opposing receiver. He often loses balance due to poor footwork, and is rather average with his hips and quick change of direction.

Where Johnson was his best in college was in zone coverage, playing his deep third of Kentucky's cover-three look. Rarely did he allow receivers behind him in zone coverage, and displayed good instincts when deciding whether to jump routes or play more conservatively when playing in that deep third. He was not nearly as comfortable underneath, and Kentucky didn't ask him to play in that role too often. Because of how big he is, Johnson is able to contest at the catch point regularly, yet he only deflected 9 passes in 2 years.

What gives me the most hope for Lonnie Johnson as a prospect (besides his length) is his Senior Bowl performance. Johnson impressed daily at the Senior Bowl, looking more comfortable in man coverage and playing much better in his press technique.

Was this Johnson becoming more comfortable over time and a sign of things to come at the next level, or was it an anomaly that we shouldn't read too much into? The answer to that question is up to the individual teams, but his combine performance will play a huge role in how those teams answer.

The Fit

As I've discussed already, Lonnie Johnson Jr. fits what Kris Richard tends to look for in his cornerbacks. He is long, tall, and relatively athletic, making him a clay piece for a coach like Richard to develop.

The question is, however, how much development can really occur? The highs for Johnson are rather high when he maximizes his natural abilities on the field. But too often he is sloppy in technique, or looks lost in man coverage. Whether or not Richard can "fix" Johnson completely may never be seen, but teams (especially this one) could fall in love with him as a prospect for what he can become if it all comes together.



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: Oklahoma Sooners RB Rodney Anderson

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Draft Target: Oklahoma Sooners RB Rodney Anderson

NAME: Rodney Anderson

SCHOOL: Oklahoma

CONFERENCE: Big 12

POSITION: Running Back

CLASS: RS Junior

JERSEY: No. 24

RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star

HT: 6'1"

WT: 219

D.O.B.: 9/12/96

Highlights:

Rodney Anderson || 2017-18 Highlights ᴴᴰ || Oklahoma

Rodney Anderson || 2017-18 Highlights ᴴᴰ || Oklahoma Like, Comment, and Subscribe for More! Follow my Instagram: @szhighlights Songs: - "Don't Know Me" by Trae Tha Truth - "Better Days" by Trae Tha Truth I do not own any of these highlights or music clips.

Before we get into the player, we should really try to get to know Rodney Anderson the person. He attended Katy High School in Katy, Texas, one of the powerhouse HS football programs in the state. He was a four-star recruit who received offers from Auburn, Baylor, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. He originally committed to Texas A&M, but changed his mind and decided to go to Oklahoma instead. He had an up-and-down career on the football field at Oklahoma because of injuries, but did graduate with a degree in Arts and Sciences in May 2018 and is pursuing his Master's in Human Relations.

Pros:

Rodney Anderson has the ideal size and athleticism to become a featured back in the NFL. He shows good patience and vision on film to allow his offensive lineman to secure their blocks before sticking his foot in the ground and exploding through the hole. He runs behind his pads and shows good strength, loose hips, and balance to run through arm tackles. More than capable of picking up those "dirty yards" and is surprisingly slippery as a runner in the open field.

Anderson is capable of playing in a power scheme or a zone heavy scheme like the Dallas Cowboys deploy. He has been featured in a number of rushing concepts including gap/power, read action, and power sweeps. His talent also carries over to the passing game. He possesses soft hands and looks natural catching the ball both out of the backfield and down the field as a receiver. Solid in pass protection, but this is an area of his game where he can improve.

Cons:

The biggest negative about Rodney Anderson is his injury history at Oklahoma. He is basically a one-year wonder because of three separate season-ending injuries, but bad things happen in three so maybe that's behind him. Durability will be a question mark entering the NFL though.

His vision is sometimes questionable, especially on inside and outside zone reads. Has a tendency to to try to bounce runs to the outside too often or cut back too quickly. Shows good explosiveness, but only average burst through the hole. Seems to have adequate long speed on tape, but is 40 yard dash time will be heavily scrutinized if he's able to run at the NFL Scouting Combine.

In the passing game he needs to improve his route running and pass protection if he wants to be a three-down back in the NFL. The talent is there, just not the production and consistency. Will also have to prove he can be productive against stacked boxes at the next level since he rarely saw any in college due to Oklahoma's spread offense.

Cowboys Fit:

If the Dallas Cowboys are looking for a running back capable of being a featured back in the NFL, while also spelling Ezekiel Elliott from time to time, then Rodney Anderson is there guy. His combination of power, balance, explosiveness, and scheme diversity could come in handy as their RB2. Not only would he provide a good insurance policy if the unthinkable were to happen to Zeke, but he could take over if they decide not to give No. 21 a contract extension.

There is a lot to like about Rodney Anderson's game and his ability to contribute in the running and passing game, but he is not by any means a clean prospect. Despite his immense talent, his injury history and lack of consistency in college is bothersome. But, as a mid-round pick the reward far outweighs the risks. Paired with Elliott, the Cowboys could have a formidable one-two punch in their backfield and could pound opposing defenses into submission.



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