Wake-Up Call: On Steinberg, Lynch And the Eagles

Paxton Lynch. (USA Today Sports Images)

Paxton Lynch. (USA Today Sports Images)

Leigh Steinberg likened it to announcing the results of the Pennsylvania primary while the campaign was still ongoing.

The agent for Paxton Lynch has seen all the draft prognostications, and knows his client has been labeled as the third best quarterback prospect in the class behind Carson Wentz and Jared Goff.

“And I don’t see what it’s based on,” he said during a phone conversation with Birds 24/7, “because certainly it’s not based on team feedback.”

He’s biased, of course. Lynch is his guy, and the QB out of Memphis also just so happens to be the driving force behind Steinberg’s comeback following a bout with alcoholism that led to a serious fall from grace. Prior to that he was on top of his profession. Represented 60 first-round picks and the No. 1 overall selection eight times. The 67-year old Los Angeles native was the inspiration for Tom Cruise’s character in Jerry Maguire. His QB clientele included Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon and Drew Bledsoe.

At present, Lynch is the cornerstone of his burgeoning operation.

In an example of life imitating art, Steinberg is working with a small group of less-heralded players now, using a value-based approach to try and build a foundation on moral pillars. Lynch’s father reached out to Steinberg back in October 2014 before his son was on the national radar, and a partnership was forged that proved to be a fit on both ends.

“First of all, the family,” said Steinberg on why he took Lynch on as a client. “We run a practice that is focused on the concept of role-modeling…so you first look to his values and whether he’s someone that you’d be proud representing. Great parents, close family, loyalty is a real key to him. I looked at his relationship with his teammates, who essentially adore him; how close he is to everyone, how enthusiastic they are about him.

“And then you look at the physical traits — which is that he’s six-foot-seven with monstrous hands and has the ability to throw both with touch and strength, and has that unusual capacity at that size to scamper around fluidly as if he was someone much shorter.

“Then you look for what’s his productivity like in adverse or critical situations because they’ll be there in abundance in the NFL…He fits the classic definition of franchise quarterback.”

That’s still up for debate. As Josh did a nice job of outlining earlier this month, Lynch has shown some serious flashes but is raw and lacks experience in a pro-style offense. He is a pretty big projection and a mystery in a lot of ways.

The Eagles have just over two weeks to crack it. The brain trust traveled to Memphis to work Lynch out and also had him in for a visit on Tuesday.

“Generally that is indicative of serious interest. It’s a different question whether Philadelphia takes a quarterback or takes him,” said Steinberg,

There has been plenty of chatter about the Eagles moving up to select a quarterback — most notably, Wentz. If that ends up not coming to pass, Jeffrey Lurie and Co. will have to decide on the next best option when it comes to addressing the quarterback position. Where Wentz and Goff may very well require a move up, the Eagles might be able to push back in the draft and still secure Lynch depending on how the cards fall. It’s just a matter of determining whether that’s a worthwhile pursuit.

“I think he has the best upside of any of the quarterbacks in the draft,” said Steinberg. “I’ve been doing this for 42 years, have represented the very first pick in the draft eight times and 60 first-round draft picks, and I think he fits the franchise quarterback definition, which is someone you can build around for 10-12 years, someone that you can win with and someone who can elevate his level of play in adversity.”

Does he remind you of anyone?

“Typically that’s rough, OK?” said Steinberg, who played ball anyway. “A more athletic Ben Roethlisberger.

“He’s a rare athletic big man. So I think a cross between Roethlisberger and [Cam] Newton. We’re just talking speculatively [because of the uncertainty of projections at the quarterback position].”

That’s really all this time of year is — speculation. Truth is, we don’t know exactly how the Eagles have their board set up. But with the Birds in need of a long-term solution at quarterback and Lynch the most gettable signal-caller in the first round theoretically, it’s at least worth asking whether they’re thinking about No. 12 as a potential option.


Josh’s Draft Daily on mid-round quarterback prospect Dak Prescott.

“I’m wondering how he pulls it off, how he got people to make some of these deals.” What They’re Saying.

Who do the Eagles have atop their big board? Josh gives his top six prospects for the Eagles in yesterday’s Wake-Up Call.


Could the second overall pick be up for grabs as well? Lance Zierlein thinks so. NFL.com has more. 

Citing an NFL team executive as a source, NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein says the Browns are not enamored with a single player who would be available with their top selection and would be willing to part with it in order to collect more draft picks…

The Browns have shown high interest in both Wentz and Cal’s Jared Goff; head coach Hue Jackson and quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton traveled to the pro days of both signal-callers (Jackson was the only NFL head coach who was present for Wentz’s workout). They also had the draft’s presumptive No. 3 quarterback, Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, in for a visit. However, Cleveland has also been doing its homework on quarterbacks likely to be available after Round 1.

They’ve worked out Michigan State’s Connor Cook, met with Stanford’s Kevin Hogan, and put Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott through a series of psychological tests the day before his pro day last month. Hogan was Hamilton’s first recruit when he was a coach at Stanford, per The Washington Post.

Jimmy Kempski writes that, contrary to popular opinion, some experts like Jared Goff and Carson Wentz more than Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota.

For example, during Goff’s pro day at Cal, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said that he thinks Wentz and Goff are better prospects, via Dan Parr of NFL.com:

“The statement I’m going to make to you guys, and you can tell me whether you agree or not, is I’m at the point now with both Wentz and Goff where I think they’re every bit as good, if not better, than Winston and Mariota from a year ago as prospects,” Mayock said.

Greg Cosell of NFL Films isn’t quite as high on Goff, but he thinks Wentz has better traits than Winston or Mariota, via the Eagles’ website.

“If I had to compare this year’s group, I think Wentz is more talented than either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota just in terms of traits. I think Carson Wentz is a high-level traits prospect,” Cosell said.


We’ll hear from a few Eagles as the offseason training program continues from NovaCare.