The magical run that Nick Foles had as a Philadelphia Eagle in 2013 really set the Eagles back at least two years, despite the division title and a home playoff game. Foles threw for 27 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions that season. That lead to the Eagles investing in Nick foles going in to the 2014 season and passing on both Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr and instead drafting Marcus Smith with their first round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
That season prevented the Eagles front office from taking a quarterback early in a draft that had two good values after their first round pick. In the 2015 draft the Eagles were very quarterback needy, but outside of the top two picks there was absolutely nothing available.
Which brings us to the 2016 NFL Draft, where the Eagles have a chance at redemption with an upcoming QB class the more closely resembles the 2014 class. Not true elite number one, but several first round caliber prospects will be available and at least one or two by the time the Eagles have their selection(should pick somewhere between 7-21, depending on how season unfolds).
This will be the first of many QB prospects reviews starting with the quarterback who should be the first selected, Memphis’s Paxton Lynch.
Paxton Lynch 6’6, 230 RS JR- There is a lot to like about Lynch’s game. He is a long, but surprisingly athletic QB with a high release point and big hands. He will rarely fumble, whether it be a hit from behind or while attempting to gain extra yards on a run, he always properly secures the football. He also has a very low interception rate, some in part due to the spread offense that he runs, but mostly because of how accurate he is.
I would love to see Lynch in a spread or west coast offense at the next level because of his ability to consistently lead his receivers on short to intermediate routes. Because of his long frame he doesn’t have the quick release of an Aaron Rodgers, but his throwing motion isn’t something that is going to hold him back.
Why He Will Thrive- Like I said above, Lynch is a very accurate quarterback who gives his receivers a chance to do even more damage after the catch. He is a very underrated athlete. He is very accurate on the run going to his right and is a threat on the read option and runs a very efficient quarterback sneak.
He moves very well in the pocket and is definitely not a one read and go quarterback. He doesn’t panic in the pocket. He trusts his blocks, goes through his progressions and only takes off if the running lane is there or if his protection breaks down. I watched a lot of Brett Hundley’s tape from last season and I saw a quarterback who took off way too early in the pocket. You don’t see that with Lynch. His vision and patience really set him apart in this class.
Lynch really has all the physical tools you could want in a quarterback. Tall, not too slender, strong arm, good release, athletic and big hands. When you factor in the mental aspects of his game like his vision and patience in the pocket it’s easy to see why he could go very early in next spring’s draft.
Bust Concerns- The issues I have with Lynch are pretty nitpicky which is always a good sign for an elite prospect. He’s listed from 230-245 pounds depending on where you look, but I would guess he is probably closer to 225. That worries me a bit, especially since he is a mobile quarterback who could be running the read option at the next level. The NFL Scouting Combine will force a lot of these prospects to shed even more weight because it is all about running those fast 40 times. So if Lynch does weigh in under 230 pounds I would be concerned a little bit. Ideally he should play around 240-250 pounds with his 6’6 frame.
The other concerns I have with Lynch are his deep ball accuracy and coming from that spread offense. Some quarterbacks adjust really well coming from spread attacks to a more pro style offense like Derek Carr did coming from Fresno State to the Oakland Raiders. This concern will be addressed be scouts and coached during interviews throughout the draft process. I don’t get the chance to interview elite prospects like Paxton Lynch, but judging by how well he sees the field I can’t foresee this being a major issue at the next level.
The deep ball accuracy issue is really just about his footwork. He has a tendency to throw from his upper body too much at times and it affects the accuracy on passes over 30 yards. You saw the good and the bad with that in his 2015 game film. Put on the Tulsa tape and you see an elite deep ball thrower, but if you put on the Missouri State or Temple game and you see some deep balls he wish he could have had back.
Projection- He isn’t getting the top 10 hype that he deserves right now, but eventually he will. More info comes from scouts the deeper we get into this draft process and that’s when we start to get a better idea of where some of these prospects could fall. Outside of an injury or major arrest, Lynch is going to be a first round pick and most likely a top 10 pick.
The Eagles have a decent shot at getting Lynch depending on how their season ends. Connor Cook is probably going to be the first quarterback taken(what I think happens, not what should happen), so it just depends on how the dominoes fall after that.