Detroit Lions: Top NFL Draft Pick Options

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Paxton Lynch, Quarterback, Memphis

The sales pitch 

Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The tall junior quarterback has burst onto the draft radar with a breakout 2015 campaign, but he had shown glimpses of great NFL potential earlier. Lynch has great size at a sturdily built 6’7’ but he’s more athletic than most tall quarterbacks. He’s somewhere between Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton in that regard. Tweaks to his delivery have improved his accuracy and allow him to get the ball out quicker.

He has outstanding velocity and touch on his deeper throws, and he’s been more willing to challenge down the field as a junior. Lynch has captained an up-and-coming program that was a perennial afterthought before his arrival. He proved he can light up a very solid Ole Miss defense despite falling behind early.

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With the First Pick

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  • As much as he has improved from the beginning of 2014 to the present, there is still considerable growth potential. Taking him would present the Lions the opportunity to trade Matthew Stafford, or use Stafford as a bridge while Lynch takes a year to get his feet wet.

    The downside

    While it’s not technically correct, the “one-year wonder” criticism does hold some water with Lynch. Much of his productivity has come against the lesser defenses of the non-BCS American Athletic Conference. He can be streaky with his ball placement and his cold streaks, such as the first drive against Cincinnati, can be ugly. Ideally he needs a year in a reserve NFL role before taking the reins, but as the top overall pick that is unrealistic. This is a debatable point, but Stafford isn’t in the top three when listing problems with the Detroit offense and replacing him with an inexperienced greenhorn likely stymies any quick turnaround.

    Next: Jalen Ramsey