News broke early last week that the Cowboys brass have had great visits with Paxton Lynch, and that they plan to speak with him again prior to the draft, which is now only a little over a month away. In light of this, we thought it would be a good idea to take another in-depth look at Lynch.
The first thing you see with Lynch is his size. This is a guy who's 6'7", 244lbs and has 10.25" hands. He's a huge specimen. Build-wise, he reminds me of Joe Flacco. Side note, I shook Joe Flacco's hand a few months back and he's got 9.63" hands and they were huge. Lynch's are over half an inch bigger, meaning he's got gigantic hands and should be able to hold on to the ball easier when in the face of pressure.
When I study guys, I don't just look at their tape. You can't. If you do that, you're only a little bit better than your friend who tells you someone's amazing when all they do is watch highlight tapes on YouTube. Not cool. So what else do I do? I watch interviews on the guy. I read up on his background. I do whatever I can to learn where these guys come from. Everyone knows that you can tell where someone's going by looking at where they've been.
After watching some of his interviews, he certainly seems like a good guy. Smiles a lot and says the right things. A lot of scouts and executives don't like hearing prospects name a team they'd like to play for (even the team the prospect names). When Lynch has been asked the same question, he politely side steps it and says he'd like to play for any of the 32. He's a guy who's willing to come in and start for a team on day one, or sit behind a veteran passer and learn for a year or two (cough cough).
He's from an athletic family, which is always a positive. His father played college basketball and his brother plays baseball.
As recently as last week, I had Paxton Lynch rated as my top quarterback in this draft. Honestly, he may still be there. His combination of athleticism and traits make him such an intriguing prospect for a quarterbacks coach to mold. If he could sit behind Romo for a year or two and soak up as much as he can about the position, he could be dangerous.
Paxton Lynch: Positives
This is a guy who knows what improvement means. He's the only one out of the top three quarterbacks this season to have played every game his last three years, AND improve in every major category. Courtesy of sports-reference.com, the table below shows the increase in all categories, something coaches love. Something they love more? Well, it's already been highlighted.
He's got a cannon of an arm. He's very underrated when you're talking about his athleticism. He has the ability to move within the pocket, and take off to run when the play breaks down. He's got a solid ability to throw on the run, although sometimes the passes can be off-target, and he has the awareness to reset his feet when rolling out to the left when he has time to. Fantastic ability to set his feet in the pocket and deliver a strike with his entire body. I absolutely love his accuracy. His bad throws seem to be more a product of pressure and throwaways. I love his ability to keep his eyes down field throughout the play. Regardless of whether he's in the pocket or rolling out, he seems to always scan the field to make a throw. He's able to hit his receivers in stride and allow them to pick up yards after the catch with ease.
You can see in the play below how the play calls for him to read the right defensive end and right corner. The wide receiver, seeing that the corner is playing deep, is taught to run his post across the face of the defensive back. As soon as he hits his back foot, Lynch sees that the DE has sunken too far into the flat. He shoots the ball into his receiver, anticipating that the route will be run correctly. The crisp throw allows the WR to pick up an additional 5-10 yards on the play. Solid throw.
Here's a great example of his accuracy on the run. One of the things I like most about this play is the zone that he's able to float the ball into. Unlike the first play where he guns the ball into his wide receiver, on this play, Lynch shows the touch he's able to add to his passes.
On a designed roll-out to the right, his first read is the linebackers, and whether they bite on the play action or not. If they do, he knows to keep his eyes downfield on the safeties because he's got his two receivers running parallel post routes. Because of this, he has a good feeling that the outside receiver is going to draw the safeties up the field, and he should have a good chance at a throw underneath to #83. If the linebackers don't bite on the play action, you probably see him dump the ball off to the fullback in the flat, or try to run for a few yards.
My favorite part about the play is the touch he puts in the ball without setting his feet. It's sort of an Aaron Rodgers-like dump pass where he just knows he can fit the ball right over the linebacker's head, and before the safeties.
Paxton Lynch: Negatives
I'd like to see him step up in the pocket more. There are too many plays where he prematurely takes off to run, and rolls out to the right. There are a lot of yards he leaves on the field because he tries to do too much with his legs.
In the play below, he gets nervous when he sees the man coverage. He's too quick in dismissing his outside receiver running up field from the right. If he's able to keep his eyes up and be prepared to throw, since the corner covering the crossing receiver peels off at the end of the run to tackle the quarterback, Lynch may have had the ability to toss the ball to the receiver in the middle of the field.
Here's a still image illustrating my point. He could've led the receiver to the middle of the field. Keep in mind that the receiver is still running to the middle of the field, but the corner has stopped to come back to tackle the quarterback. It's certainly a tight window, but those are the types of plays you're going to have to make on the next level. He does a great job of escaping the collapsing pocket, but he needs to finish it off my making the throw in the face of pressure.
Some other negative observations include the scheme he played in at Memphis. Very rarely did he take a snap under center. In fact, I can't recall a good play he had from any sort of under center formation. A lot of his throws are pre-determined reads or screens. I'd like to see him use his eyes and scan the field more. I think this is where Wentz and Goff have a lead over him.
He's got a little bit of a wind up in his throwing motion, causing him to take a little longer to get rid of the ball. Because of his longer wind up and long limbs, he's going to have to be careful on his drop-backs. Defensive ends and outside linebackers are going to lick their chops if he doesn't step up in the pocket because they'll be able to force fumbles at the top of the drop-back.
Overall, I think Paxton Lynch is a first round quarterback all day long. You draft a guy based on his traits, not his production. Lynch's measurables are off the charts, and he possesses the arm and accuracy that quarterback coaches love.
Latest #WouldYou Poll/Article is out. Check it out at (https://t.co/Bem1Vhvrzm) and make your selection...
So, in light of recent events, would you draft Paxton Lynch in the first round?
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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