Memphis' Paxton Lynch shows off strong arm for NFL scouts
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) On an overcast, blustery day, Paxton Lynch did his best to show off both his strong arm and leadership skills to NFL scouts Wednesday at Memphis' pro day.
Lynch is projected as a possible first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft, and he completed 57 of 69 passes before approximately 25 scouts at Memphis' practice field. With winds hovering around 25 mph, the workout was moved up about an hour to avoid possible thunderstorms.
Lynch said he thought he did well in the windy conditions.
''I saw it as a challenge,'' Lynch said. ''I kind of got a chance to come out and show my arm off.''
Arm strength is not the question for the 6-foot-7 Lynch, who entered the draft after his junior season. He completed 63 percent of passes for 8,863 yards in his career. But he ran a spread offense for the Tigers, so questions about his footwork when dropping back to pass are a concern for NFL teams.
Lynch is considered possibly the No. 3 quarterback available behind Carson Wentz of North Dakota State and Jared Goff of California.
''I think he made dramatic improvements with his footwork,'' former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks said on the NFL Network broadcast of the workout. ''Because of that, you can get excited about what he brings. As the third quarterback in this draft class, you have to have that conversation in the middle of the first round, how high up do we need to go to make sure that we can get him.''
Lynch threw an array of carefully scripted passes - short out routes, screens, crossing patterns - with good success. Conditions sometimes made longer routes more of a challenge.
At one point after sailing a ball past a receiver, Lynch patted himself on the chest and said, ''That's on me.''
On other long throws, he showed a nice touch.
''There were a couple of times, I was just a little off,'' Lynch said. ''But most of (the throws) I was really happy with the placement of them.''
His agent Leigh Steinberg described his client's performance as ''pretty spectacular.''
''Our theme was shock and awe,'' Steinberg said. ''In the midst of a heavy wind, he came out and was incredibly effective.''
After about 35 minutes, several people, including former Tennessee Titans coach and current San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, asked Lynch to throw specific routes.
Lynch's receivers were mostly Memphis teammates, including Tevin Jones, Mose Frazier and Alan Cross. Lynch said it was nice to have familiar receivers around, while giving them a chance to showcase their skills for scouts.
AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee contributed to this report.