It's good to be an NFL quarterback prospect these days.
Quarterback mania seems to be in full force as this year's NFL draft looms next week, and now Memphis's Paxton Lynch is getting in on the fun.
Some huge wheeling and dealing has virtually guaranteed that quarterbacks go No. 1 and No. 2 overall in this year's draft -- it's just a matter of whether the Los Angeles Rams want Cal's Jared Goff or North Dakota State's Carson Wentz; the Philadelphia Eagles will get the other with the second overall pick.
And don't look now, but here comes Lynch, thought to be one of the fastest risers on the board this week. Many pundits now think Lynch could vault all the way into the top 10 as quarterback-needy teams scramble -- or is panic the right word? -- for the third-best arm on the board.
That could affect the Ravens, who are sitting at pick No. 6.
The Ravens would love to see a scenario in which three quarterbacks went in the top six overall. That would allow them to move back, get an extra pick or two and still end up with an elite defender.
But taking Lynch in the top 10 would be "a reach," ESPN draft expert Todd McShay said on a conference call. McShay said he sees "a big dropoff" from the top two quarterbacks to Lynch. (Incidentally, in discussing first-round reaches at quarterback, McShay mentioned Kyle Boller, whom the Ravens traded up to grab at No. 19 overall in 2003.)
ESPN's Mel Kiper calls Lynch "tremendously gifted," but still projects him as a late first-round or second-round pick.
" He's got size, he's got arm strength, he's got athletic ability, mobility, all that," Kiper said on a podcast. "He won at Memphis, he took that team to a different level. But he's raw, he's never commanded a huddle, he's never been under center. He's never dealt with playing against elite competition and when he did late in the year, he struggled mightily, particularly in their bowl game against Auburn."
Lynch was 16-for-37 for 106 yards with one interception against Auburn in a 31-10 loss.
Still, he's a 6-foot-6, 248-pound quarterback, and teams desperate for quarterback help might be afraid they will lose out if they wait for their turn on the clock.
You can bet that if Ozzie Newsome's phone rings, he'll answer it.
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