With Ryan Fitzpatrick still unsigned, rumors are heating up regarding the New York Jets and who is going to be their quarterback in 2016. Now that the NFL draft is a little over a month away, some analysts believe that the Jets will take a quarterback in the first round. While there is no chance that Jared Goff or Carson Wentz falls to the Jets at No. 20, Memphis Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch may be available.
While the Jets finished with a 10-6 record last season, they failed to make the playoffs in the tough AFC East. In the best season of his career, 33-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 3,905 yards, 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. With Fitzpatrick’s future with the Jets uncertain, the team is apparently considering Lynch in the first round.
As seen in a recent NFL mock draft at ESPN, the Jets will select Lynch with pick No. 20.
“Admittedly, I don’t love this pick. It’s too early for Lynch, who has a raw skill set and comes from an offense that featured few complex reads. He will need time to adjust to the pro game and is best for a team with a reliable QB already in place. With needs at outside linebacker and offensive tackle, the Jets would have to reach for guys like Noah Spence or Germain Ifedi here if the board fell this way.”
Standing tall at 6-foot-7 and weighing 240 pounds, Lynch has all of the physical tools to become a competent NFL quarterback. While there is much more to becoming a successful quarterback than physical stats, Lynch still has a solid foundation. Since many analysts do not believe that Lynch is ready to start in 2016, the team is still likely going to need a veteran quarterback. While the Jets would prefer to have Fitzpatrick back at the helm, they are not going to start a rookie quarterback this season.
If Fitzpatrick is brought back, Lynch would have a solid veteran to learn from. While many quarterbacks drafted in the first round in today’s NFL start immediately, this year’s draft class is thought to have more project players. While Lynch has the potential to be a great quarterback, he is going to need to be around an NFL team for a year or two before he is truly ready.
As NJ Advance Media notes, the Jets actually drafted a project quarterback last season.
“McShay’s colleague, Mel Kiper Jr., has already mentioned that he doesn’t think Lynch is ready to be a Day 1 starter in the NFL. Lynch is something of a project quarterback. Remember, the Jets drafted a quarterback like that in the fourth round last year — Bryce Petty. Do they want another one?”
In addition to Bryce Petty, the Jets also still have Geno Smith on the roster. While Smith has shown brief flashes of being able to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, he has regressed since being drafted in 2013. After the Jets decided to start Fitzpatrick over a healthy Smith, it basically marked the end of Smith’s chances of ever becoming the team’s unquestioned starter.
Petty has not yet played a down in the NFL, so it remains to be seen if he can actually play. As a fourth-round project pick, Petty’s chances of ever becoming a franchise quarterback are not great. Regardless, he still has the potential to develop into a solid backup.
While some analysts view Lynch as another Smith or Petty, he easily has the most potential out of the three. Lynch, who just turned 22-years-old, is still young enough to eventually become the franchise quarterback that Jets’ fans are hoping for. Whether or not he becomes a competent NFL quarterback remains to be seen, but he very well may be worth it at pick No. 20.
With the New York Jets’ quarterback situation uncertain, rumors are going to continue to come out linking the team to Memphis Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch. A lot is going to change before the NFL draft arrives at the end of April, but do not be surprised if Lynch is selected by the Jets in the opening round.
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