Mike Mayock: Paxton Lynch Is A ‘Project’

Plus, which offensive linemen could immediately start in the NFL.

Mike Mayock. (USA Today Sports)

Mike Mayock. (USA Today Sports)

The most likely scenario, it seems, in which the Eagles draft a quarterback in the first round is if Sam Bradford doesn’t return, leaving Philadelphia without a clear-cut starter next season.

However, according to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, the quarterback the Eagles would likely select at No. 13 overall, Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, probably isn’t prepared to immediately start.

“They’re rebuilding him from the ground up. He’s never been under center in his life. He’s got a lot that he’s got to learn,” Mayock told reporters at the NFL Combine on Saturday. “He’s working hard at it, and when he gets his footwork lined up the correct way, that arm strength is elite. It’s really cool. But that’s a work in progress. I still think he’s a first round pick, but he’s a little bit of a project. He’s a year or two away.”

Mayock said all of the quarterbacks’ measurements and on-field performances yesterday were “as advertised,” and noted that North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz could also use a year or two to develop. That’s why Mayock thinks one NFC East team would be the best fit for Wentz.

“If I’m Dallas at No. 4, I’m sitting there licking my lips because I’ve got a 36-year-old quarterback that hasn’t finished a season in three years and you’re probably not going to be at four again very soon, at least hope not if you’re Dallas, right?” Mayock said. “So you’re getting an opportunity to draft for the future so I would much prefer looking at a guy that maybe I can groom for a year and then play. I think that’s the ideal situation for him.”

However, Jerry Jones told Cowboys reporters yesterday that while Dallas doesn’t know what they’ll do with their first pick, they’re planning on Tony Romo starting for several years.

“What is the one unequivocal fact that you can count on relative to the preparation of this draft and on draft day is that I’m planning on Romo being the quarterback for the next four or five years,” Jones said. “That’s a fact. You won’t see a decision on draft day that will fly in the face of not believing, from our standpoint, that he’ll be our quarterback for four or five years.”

Mayock added that he had “no idea” where Ohio State’s Cardale Jones or Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg would be drafted, because “they’re big, good-looking kids that throw a beautiful football with a lot of bad tape.” He also mentioned Connor Cook as one of several quarterbacks projected to be a mid-round pick who are trying to prove they’ll be “the next Kirk Cousins.”

As for the offensive linemen, Mayock identified Stanford’s Joshua Garnett and Arizona State’s Christian Westerman as guards who could immediately start in the NFL. Mayock said Westerman would be a mid-round pick, while Garnett will be selected in the second or third round.

He also noted that the relative lack of strength Kansas State’s Cody Whitehair displayed “bothers” him, but that Whitehair is a “smart, tough” player with “really good” tape. The first offensive lineman Mayock discussed was Indiana offensive tackle Jason Spriggs, whose meausreables and on-field workout Mayock called “outstanding.”

“He’s got some things he’s got to clean up from a technique perspective, but I could channel a bunch of offensive line coaches around the league going, ‘I want to work with that guy,'” Mayock said.