San Francisco 49ers Rumors: Paxton Lynch Could Be The 49ers’ Target At Pick No. 7, According To Mock Draft

With the 2016 NFL draft only a few weeks away, rumors are heating up regarding the San Francisco 49ers and their plans for the No. 7 overall pick. While the 49ers have been commonly linked to North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz and California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff, the latest rumors have them going after another quarterback. Memphis Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch is viewed to be a tier below Wentz and Goff, but the latest NFL mock draft believes he will be selected by the 49ers in the first round.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the odds are that the 49ers will select a quarterback in the opening round. While Colin Kaepernick is still on the roster, he is unlikely to be in the team’s long-term plans with the ongoing trade talks. Many analysts even believe that new 49ers head coach Chip Kelly prefers Blaine Gabbert to Kaepernick. Regardless of Kelly’s opinions on Gabbert and Kaepernick, the team still needs a better quarterback prospect. Gabbert played well at the end of the 2015 season, but he is probably leaning towards being a career backup.

With the Cleveland Browns recently signing Robert Griffin III, many insiders believed this meant they would not draft a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick. While Griffin still has the potential to be a competent NFL starter, the Browns are still expected to select Goff or Wentz. Since the other teams that are drafting before the 49ers are not expected to select a quarterback, it has been assumed that the 49ers would take the quarterback that the Browns do not draft.

As seen in the latest mock draft by Sports Illustrated, the 49ers will shock everyone and select Lynch.

“Yeah, this sounds nuts, especially with Wentz still on the board, but work with me here. The 49ers will likely hang on to Colin Kaepernick for one more year whether they want to or not, and GM Trent Baalke’s ‘smartest guy in the room’ modus operandi has had him making some very unconventional moves in the draft over the last few seasons. Baalke’s draft philosophy seems to be to take as many players with athletic potential as possible and hope their upside pans out. And we’re going to find out who really wears the pants in San Francisco’s front office. I could see Chip Kelly preferring Wentz’s size and athleticism, but Lynch is a sneaky runner with experience in option concepts, and he’s an amazing deep passer. He needs development, but he’s the kind of toolsy player that could fall right into Baalke’s wheelhouse.”

While Wentz and Goff are viewed as better prospects than Lynch, nobody really knows who is going to have the most success in the NFL. As impressive as Wentz appears in workouts, he did not exactly face elite competition during his time at North Dakota State. Goff faced tougher teams throughout his college career, but many analysts believe his small hands and lack of elite arm strength are concerns.

Size is not everything, but Lynch is a massive 6-foot-7, 245 pounds. Like Goff and Wentz, Lynch is viewed as somewhat of a project quarterback, but most young quarterbacks are going to face growing pains. Coming off of a disappointing 5-11 season, the 49ers are not exactly expected to be in contention for the tough NFC West title. While Kelly brings hope to 49ers’ fans, it is unlikely that the team is really competing for a few more seasons.

Allowing Lynch to develop on the bench for a year or two could be vital for his future. Even last year’s class of quarterbacks, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, had their fair share of struggles. Since last year’s class is viewed as significantly stronger than this year’s, it is going to take a little more time for Wentz, Goff, and Lynch to get comfortable in an NFL offense.

As the Sacramento Bee reports, the 49ers recently watched Lynch throw at his pro day in Memphis. Whether or not they decide to draft him over Wentz or Goff remains to be seen, but rumors will continue to link the San Francisco 49ers to Memphis Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch.

[Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images]

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