Combine Notes: Paxton’s Past, Cap Raised
INDIANAPOLIS — Quarterbacks trickled in and out of the media room at the NFL Combine on Thursday, with all of the top prospects addressing reporters except one: Paxton Lynch.
Later, rumors circulated about why the Memphis quarterback unexpectedly missed his availability, and it was attributed to potential health problems. But Lynch put that speculation to bed on Friday.
“I had an issue with my left knee and my right knee and an issue with my AC joint,” he said. “When I hurt my AC joint back in my redshirt sophomore year of college in Cincinnati, I didn’t realize that I had — I think they said it was just a small fracture in my clavicle. So that popped up on the X-ray, but it was healed. But there was just some piece of the bone, I guess, just floating around in there.
“So it spooked a team or two, I think, and that’s why they requested the MRIs and all that. But I mean, I didn’t miss a game or a practice or a single throw because of it, and none of those injuries bother me today. I’m 100 percent, so I was more than willing to do what they need me to do.”
It’s always interesting to learn why top prospects who attended non-Power Five colleges weren’t given opportunities at bigger programs out of high school, whether the player was a late-bloomer or simply underestimated.
But with Lynch, part of the issue seems to be the scheme he ran in high school.
“I didn’t really throw the ball at all in high school because we were a Wing-T offense, but when I got to Memphis, that’s the first time I actually started throwing the ball in general,” Lynch said. “So we kind of tested a few things out, moving me in the pocket and stuff like that but I’m confident in my abilities and what I can and can’t do.”
Although Memphis is a member of the American Athletic Conference, the Tigers played three teams ranked in the top-20 in the final AP poll, including two in the top-10. Memphis beat Ole Miss, who finished the season at No. 10, by 13 points. Lynch completed 39 of his 53 pass attempts for 384 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Because of that, according to the quarterback, NFL teams are more concerned with the type of offense he played in than the level of competition he competed against.
“The schemes are obviously going to be a little bit different,” the 6-7, 244-pound quarterback said. “I’m going to have to be calling plays from the huddle, I’ll have to learn the terminology, little small things here and there, but I don’t see it as a problem.”
With the scheme questions have also come questions about his footwork.
“There’s been some coaches spitting some facts to me about like 61 percent of the snaps were out of the shotgun this year, so I think the game is kind of going that way,” said Lynch, who some draft analysts predict the Eagles will select in the first round. “But obviously it’s still not fully that way, so I have to get used to those three-step, five-step and seven-[step] drops. But that’s all I’ve been doing, so I’m very confident in that.”
Before joining Doug Pederson’s staff, both wide receivers coach Greg Lewis and defensive line coach Chris Wilson each coached one player in college who’s attending the combine this week. Lewis coached Pittsburgh receiver Tyler Boyd, and Wilson coached USC defensive tackle Antwaun Woods.
Here’s the excerpt from Boyd’s meeting with the media on Lewis:
What did you learn from Greg Lewis?
“I learned a lot from Greg Lewis. He taught me the fundamentals. He helped me critique my craft. The top of the route and catching points and how much depth to get on all routes. He just helped me critique my craft and my all-around game.”
Did you learn to catch with your hands from Lewis?
“Definitely. That was one of the main categories he wanted to work on with our unit, and because that was already a strong trait that I had, he really didn’t have to spend a lot of extra time with me. He just had me get on the JUGS machine every day after practice to make sure I was consistent, like you mentioned.”
And here’s Woods on Wilson:
What role did Wilson have in your development?
“Coach Wilson, we were together for two years. Great guy. He taught me a lot of football, and not only football. He taught me a lot about life. I’m always learning from him, always asking him for advice to this day. He has taught me a lot.”
What kind of coach is he?
“He’s a tough coach. He’s on you, but as well, he’s laid back as well. He can be a little bit of both. He inspired me and motivated me each game, and we had great talks.”
SALARY CAP RAISED
Source: The 2016 @NFL salary cap was just set at $155.27M.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2016
NFL Salary cap will be $155.27 million, per reports.
That gives #Eagles $30.27 million in salary cap space.
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) February 26, 2016
Values of 2016 franchise/transition tags broken down by position: pic.twitter.com/9DANCMQlLb
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 27, 2016