Cowboys: QB Paxton Lynch Declares For NFL Draft

Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys will be searching for quarterback help during the offseason and University of Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch might be within reach.

Contrary to what Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has to say about quarterback Tony Romo playing 4-5 more years, the future at this position may not be upon America’s Team, but it’s a certainty that it’s not far off.

There’s been rumors about Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III or Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns being acquired via trade or free agency. Either would provide a veteran presence in the form of backup capacity, but nothing really suggests that either of those figures would be a long-term solution.

Jones has to get serious about drafting a young quarterback who has a future with the Cowboys. You already know about Romo’s increasing injury history – and so do the Cowboys as an organization.

Unlike the franchise’s belief that an unqualified and repeatedly demoted head coach Jason Garrett can lead this team to the ‘promised land,’ the quarterback position will need a stud.

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The University of Memphis is arguably the best place to look.

Red shirt junior quarterback Paxton Lynch, as expected, has declared himself eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft next April in Chicago.

Depending on how things unfold as the 2015 NFL regular season comes to an end on Sunday, the Cowboys could be selecting as high as 2nd in the first round of the annual player selection meeting. Only a useless win over NFC champion Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium on Week 17 would likely knock Dallas out of the top five selections, thus probably necessitating a wait on a signal caller until the second round or later – or not at all.

Lynch is a fascinating prospect even if he didn’t play against top-notch competition during his three years starting for the Tigers. Perhaps his best attribute is his height, which measures a staggering 6’7” according Lynch’s Memphis bio online. He weighs 245 pounds and ended up rushing for 17 touchdowns throughout his college career.

In addition to his physical build, Lynch also seems to possess the right mechanics and decision-making to play quarterback at the next level.

As a red shirt freshman in 2013, Lynch threw just nine touchdowns to 10 interceptions, but things went straight upwards from there.

In 2014, Lynch threw for 22 touchdowns to only nine pics and also rushed for a career-high 13 touchdowns.

During his final season this year, Lynch upped his touchdown passes to 28 and threw to the wrong jersey just four times.

Watching Lynch drop back to throw is fun to watch. Lynch shows poise in the pocket and he takes full advantage of his tremendous height while making laser-like throws all over the field. Despite those gaudy rushing touchdown totals of ’14, Lynch is not exactly a mobile quarterback. He’s able to move around for sure, but he’s a true pocket-passer who reminds somewhat of a bigger Troy Aikman, although his accuracy throwing the ball isn’t quite on par with the former Cowboys Hall of Fame signal caller.

It’s far too early to know exactly where Lynch will be selected come April. There’s been nothing in the way of intense prospect evaluation yet and there’s much to be sorted out between now and April. In fact, Lynch might not even be the first quarterback selected in the draft, which should work in Dallas’ favor since top quarterback prospects could certainly go 1-2 as the process gets going.

Lynch had a tremendous close to the regular season schedule during a blowout victory over the SMU Mustangs in Memphis. Lynch threw seven touchdown passes in the first half to seven different receivers.

On the other hand, Lynch was far more human during a loss to the Auburn Tigers in the Birmingham Bowl on December 30.

If short-term memory is any indicator, Lynch’s draft stock could take a bit of a hit, even if he simply falls behind California junior Jared Goff, who’s also declared his eligibility for the ’16 draft.

By the end of Week 17, the Cowboys will know exactly where they’ll be drafting and will eventually figure out what direction they want to go in terms of both putting a contender on the field next season while also planning for a future that doesn’t include Romo.

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Of all the options before them, the NFL draft is the best place to accomplish both. Wherever it is the Cowboys end up selecting, the best opportunity in a long, long time to grab a future franchise quarterback would seem likely to present itself in the form of Lynch next April.