Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, considered one of the top prospects in this year's NFL draft, had his pro day Wednesday.
And it didn't take long for Lynch to show off his most marketable skill, his powerful arm, per the NFL on Twitter:
.@PaxtonLynch LAUNCHED this perfectly placed deep ball at his pro day. "That's a showoff throw right there." https://t.co/tPDhcIbtKt2016-4-6 16:54:03
As Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com noted (via College Football 24/7), "This is a really good pro day. The pure arm strength, it's way up there."
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network added (via College Football 24/7) that Lynch "would be in conversation for one of the five strongest arms in [the] NFL."
He showed nice touch to go along with that arm strength as well:
"Deep corner route... Beautiful ball. WOW." - @MikeMayock @PaxtonLynch is making all the throws at his pro day. https://t.co/DkDfMpGMjb2016-4-6 17:03:13
Not even the windy conditions on the day seemed to affect him:
24 mph wind gusts? @PaxtonLynch's arm strength is laughing at that at his pro day. 💪 💪 💪 https://t.co/pnFvg188QE2016-4-6 17:01:11
Indeed, the wind was whipping in gusts upward of 40 mph, per Mayock (via College Football 24/7). Lynch spent some time after his scripted workouts throwing against the wind and continued to impress.
"I wanted to showcase my footwork and my arm (at pro day)," Lynch said in an interview with Mayock on the NFL Network after his workout, per College Football 24/7. "I think I did a good job of that."
Lynch spoke more on his day on SiriusXM NFL Radio:
Lynch, who stands 6'7" and weighs 244 pounds, is widely considered the draft's third-best quarterback prospect behind Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. That size along with solid athleticism—he ran a 4.86-second 40-yard dash and had a 36-inch vertical jump at the NFL Scouting Combine—has made him one of the more intriguing talents available, especially given that he's considered to be a bit raw.
He looked a bit cleaner at his pro day than he did at the combine, per the NFL on Twitter:
"Compared to the way he looked at the Combine to today, much cleaner, more efficient..." @BuckyBrooks is impressed. https://t.co/s4EMKelHzS2016-4-6 17:23:47
Lynch may be raw, but he still performed well in 2015, throwing for 3,776 yards, 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions during his junior year. While Lynch wasn't a huge threat on the ground last season, he did rush for 321 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2014.
That ability to be a dual threat is probably the reason for Lynch comparing himself to a certain Carolina Panthers superstar, per Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com:
Eliot Shorr-Parks @EliotShorrParks
Paxton Lynch told me the player he compares himself to is Cam Newton. #Eagles https://t.co/ulOGvmLX5n2016-4-6 16:59:54
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report had a slightly different comparison in mind:
Matt Miller @nfldraftscout
Paxton Lynch's arm and mobility should excite teams. Just needs coached up with reads & pulling trigger faster. Blake Bortles comp.2016-4-6 17:11:10
Nonetheless, there are questions about whether or not Lynch can start immediately. Mayock (via College Football 24/7) called him "a first-round talent" but added that he "probably needs to sit for a year behind a veteran quarterback."
Josh Norris of Rotoworld had some questions about his game as well:
Josh Norris @JoshNorris
All for Paxton Lynch's throwing "tools," but based on his CFB games, how confident are you in his ability to manipulate a pocket with poise?2016-4-6 17:11:12
And Matt Lombardo of NJ.com felt Lynch was slow to get rid of the football and questioned if that would hamper him at the next level.
So there are definite questions about Lynch's game. Across the board, it seems folks agree he could use some polishing at the next level. The question, then, is how teams will value a player with obvious upside but one who likely needs to be groomed?
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Looking at this year's NFL draft, teams like the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets and Denver Broncos could all be in the market for a first-round talent at quarterback. That makes Lynch's likely draft range anywhere from San Francisco at No. 7 to the Broncos at No. 31.
It's hard to imagine a player with Lynch's upside, size, athleticism and arm strength falling out of the first round, though it's certainly a possibility. At this point, he looks like a lock to be a mid-round pick on the first day of the NFL draft.
If nothing else, Lynch didn't hurt his draft stock one bit during his pro day. Far from it.
You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.