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.
Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise
Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.
One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.
At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.
A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.
In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.
But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?
The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.
Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.
Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.
Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class
The Dallas Cowboys are "officially" adding 21 rookies to their roster, eight of which they drafted and the remaining 13 are undrafted free agents. The number of rookies the Cowboys are bringing in isn't all that surprising, but what did surprise me was how many of them were pre-draft visitors.
You may or may not know, but the NFL allows 30 allotted pre-draft visits for each team around the league. Teams don't have to use all 30 visits of course, but the majority of them take advantage of the opportunity and generally use up all 30 visits. It's a chance to introduce these rookies into the atmosphere they could be playing in and work them out in more of a one-on-one basis.
The Dallas Cowboys of course are known as a team who take their 30 pre-draft visits very seriously. Over the past several years they've drafted several players who were brought in for pre-draft visits, and 2019 was no exception.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, paying attention to the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visits is a good idea because the odds of them drafting one or more of them is pretty high. That's why I decided to run a pre-draft tracker this year, and because of it I was able to confirm 27 of the possible 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.
Here are 2019 pre-draft visitors currently on the Cowboys roster:
- DT, Trysten Hill
- RB, Tony Pollard
- RB, Mike Weber
- WR, Jon'Vea Johnson
- CB, Chris Westry
If you're doing the math, 5 out of 30 equates to 17% of the players the Dallas Cowboys brought in as pre-draft visitors. But, if Dallas only brought in 27 that percentage rises to 19%. To say that the Cowboys value these pre-draft visits would be an understatement, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.
The first three of Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, and Mike Weber were of course all draft picks and have the best chance to stick around on the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn't rule out Jon'Vea Johnson and Chris Westry. Both were draftable players, but somehow fell through the cracks right into the lap of the Cowboys as UFAs.
I don't really know if it's a good idea the Dallas Cowboys are so transparent with how valuable the treat these 30 pre-draft visits. We've seen teams time and time again trade up right in front of them to draft a player the Cowboys could've possibly been eyeing, and this year was no exception.
After drafting Running Back/Wide Receiver Tony Pollard with the first of their fourth-round draft picks, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys had their sights set on small school Defensive End/Defensive Tackle John Cominsky out of Charleston with their second pick in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons traded up a spot ahead of them to draft Cominsky.
This of course isn't the first time the Falcons have done this, which begs the question as to how they knew the Cowboys could have possibly been targeting Cominsky. We can throw a conspiracy theory out there that Atlanta might have been inside source, but that's highly unlikely. More plausible theory is they were paying attention to Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors as well.
It may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to deploy a little more smoke and mirrors when it comes to who they bring in for pre-draft visits in the future. But regardless, there's no denying the Cowboys pre-draft visitors highlight their 2019 rookie class.
Are you surprised the Dallas Cowboys added so many pre-draft visitors to the roster?
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades
Another year, another draft come and gone. The difference was that this year the Dallas Cowboys were without a first-round pick thanks to their trade for Amari Cooper with Oakland. Their de facto first-round pick would obviously earn an A+ from how well he meshed with Dak Prescott and gave this Cowboys offense another dimension.
Given how well the Cowboys have done in the first round in recent history -- all but two of their first round picks since 2011 have been in the Pro Bowl, a trend that continued with last year’s pick, Leighton Vander Esch. This season, the Cowboys only had picks from round two and on. So this year was all about finding value and hoping it would fall into their laps.
Obviously time will tell if any of these players work out or not. For the time being, we can grade the picks based on what we do know. Some picks were worth it, while others raised questions, as well as eyebrows.
58 Overall: DT, Trysten Hill
In what has been considered the best defensive line draft in decades, the Cowboys took a bit of a risk with their first “official” pick. Trysten Hill is a first round talent out of UCF, but reports questioning his love for the game had some give him a third round grade.
Dallas has already had an off-season dealing with talented defensive linemen with questions around their passion for the game (i.e. David Irving) and so obviously people didn’t love this pick.
It’s a high risk, high reward move that we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.
90 Overall: G, Connor McGovern
As far as value goes, McGovern was probably the team’s best pick. In my pre-draft rankings, Connor McGovern was my fourth overall interior lineman; a player who you can play anywhere in the interior and start immediately.
However, guard didn’t really seem like a need. This was obviously a “best player available” pick. What this pick has done instead is raise a bunch of questions.
Who’s job could be on the line?
Does this imply the team won’t re-sign La’el Collins?
Is Connor Williams going to play tackle like he did in college?
Is one of them going to get traded?
Is Travis Frederick really ready to go?
So many questions surround this pick, but there’s no questioning the player. Connor McGovern is likely a future starter on the line and Cowboys fans should be excited about that.
128 Overall: RB, Tony Pollard
If you follow me on Twitter, you know my feelings about Tony Pollard already.
Tony Pollard might be my favorite #Cowboys pick. Has experience at both the RB and WR position, plus had 7 career kick return TDs in college. He addresses all 3 needs in 1. #NFLDraft
Returner has been a need for a year now. I never liked the team trading away Ryan Switzer because it created a huge hole on special teams, as well as the receiving core.
The team also needed a backup running back to take the load off Ezekiel Elliott a bit. With Tony Pollard, they get all three positions filled in the form of a player who's 6'0" 210 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 and compiled 25 total touchdowns. Terrific value in the fourth round.
158 Overall: CB, Michael Jackson
This is the type of corner Kris Richard loves; big and tall. At 6'1" 200 pounds, Michael Jackson fits the profile.
His 2017 tape was actually better than his 2018 tape, and all four of his career interceptions came in '17. However, the team is obviously betting on his potential, especially with corner being a serious need.
With the Cowboys' four primary corners coming into contract years the next three seasons, odds are that at least one will be gone. MJ doesn’t fill in day one as a difference maker but, given some time under Kris Richard, he could be a nice player.
165 Overall: DE, Joe Jackson
Take Joe Jackson, new Cowboy, as well as Michael and Darius Jackson, and the team is just two short of a Jackson 5 reunion.
The team has been very busy trying to rebuild the depth at edge and Joe Jackson is icing on an already stacked cake. In an off-season that saw the retirement of David Irving and another suspension for Randy Gregory, the team was able to extend DeMarcus Lawrence and trade for Robert Quinn.
The edge room was already full but you can never have too many.
Joe Jackson is a fun, productive player from The U, who was teammates with the previous pick, Michael Jackson. In his career, he totaled 24 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss all in three seasons. He’s not the fastest edge rusher in the world but has plenty of power to make up for it. With the team only for sure having DeMarcus Lawrence guaranteed beyond 2019, it’s good to have as much talent as possible.
213 Overall: S, Donovan Wilson
The team really needed a safety and it enraged most people that they didn’t pick one earlier. Especially with Taylor Rapp, Juan Thornhill and Amani Hooker all available at different times.
Donovan Wilson is an interesting pick. His career has been a rollercoaster while at Texas A&M, with a highly productive 2015 season, a dip in 2016, a fractured foot in the 2017 opener, and a rebound 2018 season.
Had his career not been derailed by his injury, he’s likely gone way before the sixth round and the Cowboys are obviously betting on his potential. Meets a need, but not a plug-in right away type of pick.
218 Overall: RB, Mike Weber
Tony Pollard is going to get first crack at the backup running back spot. However, given that he’s also the team’s likely return man as well, it makes sense that they’d want to deepen the running back room to give the team a true RB2.
Mike Weber was Ezekiel Elliott’s teammate at Ohio State, but didn’t come close to the impact Elliott had. Only topping 1,000 yards once in college, Weber is likely in competition with Darius Jackson for the backup spot.
He’s not as flashy as Zeke but can pick up the slack when asked to and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. If Weber can’t beat Jackson for the backup spot, then Weber is a likely candidate for the practice squad.
241 Overall: DE, Jalen Jelks
Jalen Jelks falls into a similar boat that both Hurricanes players are in. Like Joe Jackson, he’s a good solid edge piece (fifth round draft grade), but like Michael Jackson, his prior season's tape was better than his final season.
It's interesting that the Cowboys would pick a player who seems to be better suited to play in a 3-4 as a OLB, but has plenty of starter potential. Otherwise he’s a player that’s likely headed to the practice squad that the Cowboys wanted to make sure they get first crack at. Still, a good value in terms of where he was picked.
Dallas Cowboys Overall 2019 Draft Grade: B
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