Just when I thought that my mind was made up, that I had Paxton Lynch all figured out, I was yet again pleasantly surprised by what I discovered when providing him with a true evaluation. That’s what I love about the evaluation process, especially when evaluating quarterbacks: it’s a long and tedious process. You must be thorough with your evaluation — if your intention is to be accurate, that is. And that’s exactly what my intentions are with my evaluations. I want to provide the reader with an accurate projection of the player in mind. Five years from now, I want the reader to look back on my evaluations and say, “DAMN … He’s good!”
Yeah, thats pretty vain of me. I know.
But, in order to be good — in order to be accurate with your evaluations — you must be willing to dig deep. It is a process, one that requires extreme patience and diligence. Sometimes you simply won’t get the answers that you’re looking for right away, so you must be persistent. You must watch the film that’s available to you over and over again, looking for answers to the many questions that you’ll have.
And that’s the gist of my Paxton Lynch scouting report. His evaluation required all of things mentioned above, but the extra digging was well worth it. Who I originally pegged with a Josh Freeman comparison revealed himself to be much more than that.
Well, that was the sleeve — now we’ll turn the pages of the book. Here’s the meat and potatoes of my Paxton Lynch scouting report.
Player Attribute Grades:
1 = Poor | 2 = Subpar | 3 = Sufficient
4 = Proficient | 5 = Exceptional
Player Projection Grades:
1 = Journeyman Qb | 2 = Reliable Backup
3 = Average Starter | 4 = Franchise Qb | 5 = Club Elite
» For a deeper look at my grading system, click on this link and you’ll be redirected.
Paxton Lynch Scouting Report
Paxton Lynch | Memphis | Rs Junior
Height/Weight: 6′ 6 5/8″ | 244 Lbs.
Player Projection: Joe Flacco
Player Comparison: Ben Roethlisberger
2015 » Auburn, Houston, Temple, Ole Miss, USF, Tulsa, BGSU, Missouri St, Tulane, Cincinnati, Navy
2014 » Temple
Player Attribute Grades
Accuracy 1–10 yards: 4.0
Accuracy 11–20 yards: 4.0
Accuracy 21–30 yards: 4.0
Accuracy on the Move: 5.0
Anticipation Throws: 3.0
Throwing Velocity: 4.0
Throwing Distance: 5.0
Throwing Touch: 5.0
› FINAL GRADE: 4.3
Upper Body: 4.0
Lower Body: 3.0
› FINAL GRADE: 3.7
Football Instincts: 5.0
Pre-snap Awareness: 2.0
Post-snap Awareness: 3.0
Pocket Awareness: 4.0
Decision Making: 4.0
Information Recall: 2.0
› FINAL GRADE: 3.3
Work Ethic: 4.0
› FINAL GRADE: 4.2
Play Extension: 4.0
Run Mobility: 4.0
› FINAL GRADE: 3.7
(1) Physical and (1) Mental
Durability: 4.0 (Physical)
Toughness: 5.0 (Mental)
› Toughness graded with intangibles
› Durability graded into total physical grade
• Arm Talent: 4.3
• Mechanics: 3.7
• Athleticism: 3.7
• Durability: 4.0
› FINAL GRADE: 3.9
• Intelligence: 3.3
• Intangibles: 4.2
› FINAL GRADE: 3.8
Player Projection Grade: 3.85
» Face of the Franchise Qb (potential)
Arm Talent: Accuracy
Whether on Twitter, surfing the web or watching a draft special on TV, the continuing echo amongst the experts on Paxton Lynch mostly involves these three attributes:
- They love his size.
- They love his athleticism.
- They love his arm strength.
What I love about Paxton Lynch, above all else, is his ability to be accurate with the football — plain and simple. There’s no questioning Lynch’s tremendous size, his gifted athletic ability or his impressive arm strength. But when my evaluation of Paxton was all said and done, it was his accuracy that impressed me the most, which was surprising to me.
It was surprising in the sense that you just don’t expect to see an athletic, six-foot-seven-inch, small-school quarterback make the type of big-time NFL throws that Paxton’s made during his run at Memphis. When I turned on my first film session for Paxton, I was expecting to see this Blaine Gabbert-like QB prospect — you know, a true read-option Qb who’s athleticism did all of the heavy lifting for him as a college athlete.
Well, I was wrong.
I’ll make this really simple for everyone: Paxton Lynch is a legitimate 1st rounder because of his ability to throw the football.
Perhaps he’s not as consistent with his accuracy as Carson Wentz or Jared Goff is, but it’s really splitting hairs. Paxton can make any throw on the field, in any situation. Paxton’s deep ball accuracy and his accuracy on the move are what stand out on tape — this is the feather in his cap.
I’m not the type to create GIF’s to prove a point, but the throw he made in the Ole Miss game at the start of the second half was simply amazing. It was Big Ben-Esque … click on here to see for yourself.
This isn’t the only example of big time, down the field NFL throws that Paxton completed at Memphis; he made a handful of big throws in the Ole Miss game alone. His feet were set on the example throw that I provided, but he’s made a living at making extraordinary throws while on the move, as well. Similar to Carson Wentz, this is where Paxton is most comfortable in my opinion: throwing on the move, play-action passing, bootlegs, extending the play and throwing accurate darts off-platform. Paxton is a natural at this, and hopefully his next coach accentuates this element of his game.
As far as arm strength goes, Paxton can really push the ball down the field. It looks very easy for him. He can “throw it a mile,” as they say. He’s limitless in a sense, regarding the distance of a particular throw, and he’s confident in his ability to let it rip. This gives him an obvious advantage vs man coverage, particularly when he can identify a one-on-one match up in the pre-snap phase of a play.
Paxton packs really good velocity on most of his tight window throws as well. However, I disagree with Daniel Jeremiah. He said that Paxton by far has the strongest arm in this year’s class — which is extreme hyperbole to begin with. Secondly, it’s simply an inaccurate assessment, from my point of view, at least.
Throwing velocity is more valuable at the NFL level than throwing distance is. Throwing velocity comes into play with tight-window throws and with timing route throws at the intermediate levels. While Paxton measures evenly with Jared Goff in this area of velocity, Carson Wentz is on another level — an elite level that few NFL quarterbacks are in the company of.
Overall, Paxton can make all of the necessary throws with relative ease. But it’s the distance throws he completes that make him uniquely special.
While the superlatives used to describe Paxton as a big and athletic Qb are correct, he’s no Cam Newton — the quarterback that Paxton has compared himself to. And despite his own admission that Cam is a much better athlete than he is, Paxton’s athleticism at 6-feet 7-inches and 240+ pounds certainly adds to his allure.
Not that it’s the end all be all method of measuring speed, but Paxton’s 4.86_40-yard dash when compared to Cam’s 4.59_40-yard dash offers us all that we need to know regarding a comparison of these two athletes. Paxton isn’t going to pull away from second and third level defenders in the NFL — he’s just not. Not that he did at Memphis either. However, Paxton’s 36″ vertical leap is the more telling measurement from his Combine results. It’s an apt way of measuring short area explosion and acceleration, which validates what you see on tape with Paxton. What Paxton lacks in long speed he makes up for in quick speed, as he can create distance in a hiccup. He won’t break many 20–30 yard runs in the league, but his feet and escapability must be accounted for when game-planning for him.
Paxton is thinly built, for the most part. He’s still a young man who’s weight is catching up to his height. His upper body is lean but his lower body is where you see some thickness — this is important. Because of his height and his mobility, he’ll be prone to taking on the majority of his hits down low at the next level. Thankfully, he has the build required to handle the weekly exposure to these inevitable collisions.
Again, this is the most subjective area of any scouting report, mine included. The consensus that Paxton is behind the NFL learning curve is undoubtedly true from this standpoint: He’s never been challenged or developed mentally by his Memphis coaches — not beyond a basic college level of playing the position, at least.
It’s not that Paxton isn’t smart or heady, because he is, in my opinion. It’s more about the offense that he played in at Memphis that warrants his low scores in the Intelligence portion of his scouting report. The offense that Paxton ran required him to take all calls from the coaches on the sideline. He rarely (if ever) huddled, and more importantly, he didn’t do much from the pre-snap phase at the line of scrimmage while at Memphis.
Unlike Jared Goff (who also played in a spread while taking calls from the sideline), Lynch hasn’t displayed the ability to diagnose the defense prior to the snap. I did my homework though. I read enough articles, I’ve watched enough interviews, and in my opinion, Paxton Lynch has everything it takes — from an intangible standpoint — to learn and develop mentally at the next level. Just because a player hasn’t done certain things that will be required of him doesn’t mean that he can’t do them. I believe that Lynch can display the ability to diagnose NFL defenses — in the pre-snap phase of a play — if the team that drafts him is able to nurture and develop him properly.
It’ll take a good Qb coach, a good teacher, one that can form a good relationship with Paxton, in order to get him to where he eventually will need to be on Sundays in the league.
As for the things he does well from a mental aspect …
Despite his raw pre-snap ability, Paxton displays excellent football instincts for the position. He excels at reading a defenders leverage in coverage: He knows when to go back-shoulder and when to high or low with the football, depending on the defenders leverage. Time and time again he made the perfect throw versus coverage, throwing the ball into windows that only his receivers could reach.
Paxton does a good job of feeling pressure from inside of the pocket. He’s also shown the ability to sidestep the rush laterally, and he steps up in the pocket with poise when the rush is coming wide. He generally makes really good decisions with the football. Paxton doesn’t force throws when they’re not there, which I really like. Even though I have the three of them (Goff, Wentz and Lynch) graded evenly with decision making, I would say that Paxton is the safest with the football when guys aren’t open.
The resemblance is very Alex Smith/Teddy Bridewater-ish, which simply translates to success in my book.
Intangibly, Paxton presents a lot to work with. He’s a good, clean kid from a loving and caring family. You can trust him as the face of your organization. He’s an excellent teammate and has a 5-star personality. He wins people over. I honestly cannot see him creating an enemy in his lifetime. He’s that clean of a kid. The more I watched him interview during the draft process, the more that I began to really like him. He just really grew on me.
Paxton wasn’t recruited at all coming out of high school, which is puzzling to me, given the height and arm strength that he boasted during his senior year — and that’s without consideration for his athleticism. He was all of 6’7 inches back then, and he also played baseball. His height and his big arm was no secret in Deltona, Florida — Paxton just simply fell through the cracks in the recruiting process.
In my opinion, Paxton’s shy personality had a lot to do with his lack of recruiting interest. Paxton certainly has self-confidence, or else he wouldn’t have made it this far. But, NFL quarterbacks are almost entirely alpha-males — the great ones are at least.
Paxton is not an alpha male, by any stretch of the definition.
I’m sure Paxton is an excellent son, an excellent brother, and I’m certain that he’s an excellent teammate. He’ll likely go on to be an excellent husband and father one day. But, I question if he can ever be a great leader in his profession. Now, can this area of his personality be developed by NFL coaches? Maybe. I personally don’t think Paxton will ever be a vocal leader. And maybe that means he’ll never be a great leader in general.
I said much of the same about Jared Goff in his scouting report. The only difference is (and it’s a big difference), Jared’s football IQ is on another level. He’s practically a Qb savant. I believe that Jared is simply special from a cerebral aspect: He’s Drew Brees, he’s Tom Brady, he’s Aaron Rodgers. He demonstrates a deep understanding of the many nuances that come with playing quarterback at an advanced level. Jared Goff processes information absurdly quick; he has a photographic memory. I doubt that Paxton is capable of becoming that type of quarterback — but he doesn’t have to be. He brings a unique skill-set to the NFL. His style of play can succeed while he develops from a processing standpoint. He certainly has the ability to develop and learn. He now has the perfect environment to do so in Denver.
Based only off of my first film session, I had my mind made up on who I thought Paxton Lynch was as a prospect — and I couldn’t have been more wrong. I initially comp’d him to Josh Freeman, which was justifiable at the time. Tall, athletic Qb’s with quiet, small school personalities and big arms. Josh Freeman is truly what I saw … initially.
Again, this is why I love the evaluation process. If you do not fully investigate, if you don’t provide due diligence in your evaluations, you will fail to discover the truth. As far as the 2016 Qb class goes, the truth is that it’s a special group headlined by three bonafide franchise Qb prospects, in Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and now Paxton Lynch — although, there’re many evaluators that would beg to differ with me.
There are those that feel that I’m too soft with my conclusions in regard to my Qb evaluations, and that’s fine. I’m extremely confident in my ability to evaluate quarterbacks, so criticize me if you feel the need to — although, the likelihood of that happening is slim since I’m barely getting any clicks at all these days. Seriously.
I like Paxton Lynch a lot. While he’s not a five-star prospect, few ever are. What he does bring to the table makes him unique in many ways. The fact that he has really good intangibles adds great value to the team that ends up drafting him — which turned out to be the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos.
Paxton’s arm talent is in a special class, in my opinion. His combination of size, athleticism, accuracy (especially deep), and arm strength will provide him with a legitimate chance of success in the league.
In many ways, he compares to Big Ben coming out of Miami of Ohio.
Blake Bortles was given the Big Ben comp by just about anyone with an opinion during his draft process — a comp that I never agreed with. Ben can make ANY throw on the field — However, Blake cannot. Blake’s throwing comfort zone is limited. Paxton’s throwing comfort zone is as long and wide as the playing field — mostly.
As a Tiger, Paxton regularly showcased his arm talent while on the move. He has several of challenging NFL completions on his Memphis video resume. His arm talent is equally as impressive from inside of the pocket — when his mechanics are right, that is.
His escapability, the way that he throws so naturally on the move — it bears an uncanny resemblance to Big Ben’s playing style. Even Paxton’s improvisation on the move is Big Ben-esque, with his innate ability to pump fake defenders while buying time to throw. He really sells his pump fake, regularly getting defenders off the ground with their hands in the air.
But, like every Qb prospect that enters the league, Paxton does have some things to work on. Lucky for him, the place he now calls home turned out to be the best possible landing spot for him. Gary Kubiak’s system was designed for a quarterback like Paxton. The heavy play-action and rollout calls in the playbook will allow Paxton to feel comfortable right out of the gate. I love the Kubiak offense. It accentuates the athletic Qb that’s accurate on the move. It’s an offense that’s simple by design, yet hard to defend when executed properly. I think that Paxton will become a star in Denver under Gary Kubiak. John Elway knows how to assemble a talented roster, obviously, and they have much of what they need to win already in place.
From a developmental standpoint, Paxton’s largest wart in his scouting profile is his leadership style — although playing for a veteran club like Denver helps mask the issue, initially. If Paxton would’ve shown to have strong leadership qualities in the same way that Big Ben did coming out of college, then he would’ve been a sure fire Top-10 pick this year — which is why I gave him the Joe Flacco player projection.
If Joe had been more of the alpha vocal leader that the scouts drool over, then he would’ve challenged Matt Ryan in the 2008 Draft. There are physical similarities as well when comparing Paxton to Joe, but my projection is based on personality likeness and team fit more than anything else. Paxton is very similar to Joe in the sense that they both have a shy, quiet approach to their own personal leadership style. It’s the only reason why Paxton fell down the board and made it to Denver in the first place.
I really don’t know who’s luckier, Paxton or John Elway? But it doesn’t really matter in the end because they both won big.
Paxton has the work ethic and the desire to clean up his flaws. He’s a great teammate, a great person, one that has a team-first, winning attitude. And combined with his gifted physical abilities, he’s really a coaches dream. I see a very bright future ahead for Paxton Lynch. He’ll likely go on to achieve plenty of personal success, but more importantly, he’ll experience a lot of winning — especially early in his career.
Congratulations, Broncos fans. Your “QB of the future” search didn’t last very long. Hopefully Paxton Lynch carves out a fine career in Denver, adding to the long lineage of successful Bronco quarterbacks.
» Side Note:
I originally started Paxton’s scouting report about a week before Day 1 of the Draft, but life gets in the way sometimes. Being that I’m not on any of the 32 NFL Teams’ payroll, I’m not sweating the fact that I’m over a week late with this. When I feel that a Qb Class is really special, I try to work really hard to publish scouting reports on as many from the class as I can. However, I’m not so sure that I will this year.
Beyond Goff, Wentz and Lynch, I’m not excited about any one particular quarterback from this class. The only Qb that really intrigues me is Kevin Hogan. I know that he’ll work his ass off and he’ll likely be a quality starter one day, in the mold of Matt Schaub: A smart and accurate Qb with lots of moxie and resiliency — though smaller, but a much better athlete.
Don’t sleep on Kevin Hogan. I’m trying to tell ya!
If I change my mind and I do publish more scouting reports, then they’ll show up in your mailbox — if you’ve subscribed.