Oct 2, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Memphis Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) rolls out in the first half against the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
With the team a disappointing 0-5, it’s impossible for fans to not look ahead to next spring’s draft. At this point it’s debatable who will be making those selections, or coaching and developing them.
That doesn’t mean fans can’t dream. Right now the Lions would hold the first overall selection in each round, though hopefully that will change between now and January. Here are five players playing on Saturday who could be donning the Honolulu Blue in 2016.
Paxton Lynch, Quarterback, Memphis
It starts with a potential successor to Matthew Stafford, who will be the starting quarterback in 2016 but whose future beyond that is debatable. Paxton Lynch wouldn’t require a first-round pick, but the well-built Memphis quarterback has a lot of intriguing tools to offer.
Memphis and Lynch get a chance at a big stage by playing Ole Miss (Noon ET on ESPN2). The Florida native stands 6’7” and surveys the field nicely with his height and functional bulk. Lynch has a feathery touch and has improved his ability to anticipate throws and decipher coverages.
He’s also mobile, more agile than Stafford despite weighing north of 240 pounds, and he can throw on the run. That’s perhaps the biggest hole in Stafford’s arsenal, and Lynch’s movement skills would come in handy behind a subpar offensive line.
Lynch still needs some work. Memphis isn’t a Power Five conference team and the level of competition hasn’t been great. Playing against the Rebels offers a good barometer on how close Lynch is to being NFL-ready.