Like many of you, I'm very pessimistic about the crop of QBs in this year's draft. This is concerning considering the fact that we're in desperate need of a positional upgrade. Fitzpatrick isn't the long term answer, probably not even for next year. Geno is likely gone and while Petty has tools, odds are that he won't pan out. Naturally it follows that we'll look to the draft to solve this dilemma, since the QB free agent market gets thinner every year as demand grows. Enter the 2016 QB class. It was supposed to be headlined by Jared Goff, Christian Hackenberg, Cardale Jones and Connor Cook, all "potential first round talents". Goff is as advertised and I anticipate him being a top 5 pick, out of our reach and making some other team happy for a decade barring a trade up. But I wouldn't touch Jones (benched) or Hack (bad) with a ten foot pole, even in the 2nd round. Cook is a meh day 2 prospect, but I don't see the accuracy or consistency to be a starter in the NFL. Given the collapse at the top of the class, many are denouncing this year as a possible repeat of 2013, myself included. However, in recent weeks 2 names have skyrocketed up draft boards, in a similar fashion to Derek Carr's 2014 ascension: Paxton Lynch and Carson Wentz. Wentz is an FCS quarterback and from briefly watching him, I didn't see the fascination with him other than his explosive running ability. But a half hour of watching Paxton Lynch turned him into far and away my QB2 and I think he could be something special. He's 6' 7' and 245 pounds and he's an absolute freak of nature. Usually when you get a guy this big he's essentially a statue, ala Glennon or Mettenberger, or at best "functionally mobile" like Flacco or Roethlisberger. This guy was a running back in high school and he can move. I'd compare his athleticism to Andrew Luck's in a body that's 3 inches taller. I can't say I've ever seen a "too big" QB move like him. His size allows him to throw the ball in a collapsing pocket and step into throws even while getting hit. His speed allows him to elude the rush and get outside the pocket, even taking off to run frequently. He's also a good thrower on the run, which is a good pairing with his size and athleticism. Then his arm talent is off the charts. He has the arm you'd figure from someone who's 6'7" 245: an absolute rifle. But the thing I love the most about his arm is that he's willing to throw with touch. Most times when you see a QB with a super strong arm, they become reluctant to throw anything but a fastball (Kaepernick, Glennon, Met, Flacco) which restricts their ability to throw the ball over second level defenders. Paxton has no problem dropping the ball over the reach of a linebacker but underneath a safety. He's also one of the more accurate college passers I've seen, with good ball placement on downfield throws and allways putting the ball in a place for his receiver to gain extra yards on short throws. If you read my posts from the last couple drafts, you know that pocket maneuverability is my favorite trait for scouting QBs, because it entails many other traits, like feel for the rush, footwork, awareness, ability to extend plays, etc. Lynch makes some good subtle pocket movements to buy his receivers time to get open downfield for him, and I've hardly seen him get blindsided. He has good pocket command and awareness and the athleticism to get away from the rush. If there's one thing I'd like to see more from him, it's scrambling with his eyes downfield ready to throw instead of scrambling to run so much. He's a great athlete for college, but I'm not sure it'll translate directly to the pros, so I want to see him be less 1 read and tuck, though he does go through progressions at times. This isn't his best game but there are a couple plays from it that I wanted to highlight to convey my points (you can watch some other games on the site if you want): http://draftbreakdown.com/video/paxton-lynch-vs-usf-2015/ 0:50: drops back to pass (first read is covered), immediate pressure. Steps up through a collapsing pocket and meets another defender. Runs right to escape and fires a strike 20 yards downfield while on the run. Great pocket movement, great athleticism to get away and great arm strength on the throw. 1:11: drops shoulder and looks to the middle of the field to sell QB draw then delivers perfect touch and ball placement on a sideline go route. I love that he made such a good throw despite being late to pick up his target with his eyes and feet, simulating a progression based throw (even though it's not a true progression). 2:00: like I said, most strong armed QBs don't have the ability to throw with touch. This is a great touch/anticipatory throw. He sees that his receiver is breaking free behind the linebacker, and knows that with the speed mismatch the only way the ball isn't completed is if he throws it on a line so the backer can get his hands on it. Good finesse red zone throw, which you don't see much of in college. 2:42: another really good job of manipulating the pocket. Steps through closing defenders on both sides and rips an accurate sideline strike. 3:38: here's an NFL play. Play action fake, looks left, sees it's covered, resets middle and rips a strike right by the defenders face. So much action and processing in a second and a half. 3:57: figured I'd show you one of his running plays to show you the bizzare athleticism he has for a massive QB 4:15: everything about this play, really. He starts looking left, shows good footwork in the pocket, then comes off the read and feels the rush while still looking downfield (huge) shows the poise to maneuver around the guy and the patience to keep his eyes downfield. He shows command by directing traffic downfield, then when it looks like he's just throwing the ball away he's actually unleashing a touch pass over a defender on the sideline. The patience (and awareness/pocket work) was awesome. 4:48: touch 5:02: comes off his first read on the left all the way over to the right sideline and rips a dart to the sideline while under heavy durress. 5:42: this is just a WTF play. Starts looking left, immediately diagnoses that it's covered and comes off of it (good, quick processing) then shows athleticism by running around the rush and then throwing from a ridiculous body angle while getting hit and getting a ball into a window that shouldn't even be possible. It might be a completion with an NFL receiver (Marshall?) which is just ridiculous. 7:03: more of the same. I'll stop there and let you guys watch a little on your own if you so desire. But I really do like this kid. For me, he's far and away the 2nd QB and the only one I'd even touch other than Goff. You wanna talk "physical tools", how about 6'7" 245 with arm talent, athleticism and good awareness and processing abilities? This is exactly the type of guy I want towards the end of the first round (mid 20s) where we should be picking. Just giving you guys a en exciting, rising QB to keep you eye on for the rest of the season, given how dismal the rest of the class is. Let me know what you think.