As the 2015-2016 NFL season comes to a close, the presence of mock drafts grow ever more popular. And at the conclusion of Super Bowl 50, there will be no avoiding them. Tis the season!
But for avid fans who don’t go into offseason hibernation, mock draft season provides a time for them to better familiarize themselves with draft prospects who they might’ve otherwise missed on Saturday’s prior.
I’ve seen plenty of them. And if I had to peg a pair of players that most [specifically fans] are coveting for the Los Angeles Rams in April, it’s Cal quarterback Jared Goff and Ole Miss wideout Laquon Treadwell, both of whom sit atop the prospect rankings for their respective positions.
But NFL Draft experts don’t appear to think - prior to the combine - that either of those players will be available at 15, when the Rams are on the clock.
It appears there’s another name the aforementioned experts think Rams’ fans should be familiarizing themselves with. That player: the 6’7" quarterback out of Memphis, Paxton Lynch.
STRENGTHS: Excellent frame for the positions. Shows impressive touch and ball placement on a variety of NFL-type throws along with impressive mobility. Shows poise, mobility and pinpoint accuracy.
WEAKNESSES: Not yet a polished passer. Thrives in Memphis' offense, which includes a lot of wide receiver screens and in-breaking routes, largely against inferior competition. Needs to work on his footwork, touch and continue to add weight to his build.
IN OUR VIEW: With continued development, Lynch could be this year's version of Blake Bortles - a prospect from the non-Power 5 conferences who checks a lot of boxes for NFL evaluators in an average quarterback class.
The Rams are arguably at square one at the QB position, which is a shame given the talent elsewhere on the roster. Do I think Lynch is a Week 1 starter? Absolutely not. Do I think he has significant upside and would be a potential starter in Year 2 with a roster still on the rise? Sure. St. Louis will have their eyes open in free agency and the trade market for immediate help, but Lynch could be the future.
Lynch is very raw, but he has unlimited potential and the Rams are desperate to land a franchise QB.
Want a big responsibility for a kid who starred in the ... American Athletic Conference? How about being the hope and future of the NFL's LA franchise? I think Lynch is up for it. Can he play? Yes. And that's all that matters. He's big with a 6-foot-7 frame, needs to put on a little weight, and surprisingly mobile. He also is a great kid and a charismatic one at that.
A new beginning for the Rams in Los Angeles could get off to a fresh start by drafting a quarterback in the first round. That would give the Rams Lynch and running back Todd Gurley as key pieces on a rebuilding offense for years to come.
There’s no better way to create buzz for the newly relocated Rams than by adding a young franchise quarterback to the mix. And while I’m not exactly sure that Lynch is a "franchise quarterback," he certainly is talented enough to warrant a mid-first round selection. Nick Foles was a disaster last year and there’s absolutely no-one on the roster who appears ready to challenge him for the starting job in 2016. While I don’t think that Lynch is ready to play anytime before 2018, the Rams will have to strongly consider making him their guy sooner than later. He has the kind of athletic ability to buy time in the pocket for Tavon Austin and company to get open downfield, and he’s certainly more than capable of handing the ball to Todd Gurley 30 times a game.
For video cutups of Lynch, you can visit Draft Breakdown here.