The Eagles need a quarterback. Badly. The fans know it. The writers know it. Obviously the team knows it, or they wouldn't have traded up something short of a king's ransom to move up to the second pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Sam Bradford is nothing more than an average stop gap. He is decent, but needs everything around him working perfectly to put the team in a position to win. His low ceiling as a starter forced the team to aggressively pursue a quarterback this year. Now, it is almost a given that the team has its crosshairs on North Dakota State's Carson Wentz, but they really should be going after a quarterback from the south, Paxton Lynch out of Memphis.
I have said once and said a million more times that the quarterbacks in this class all make me uncomfortable. Each has at least one flaw that makes me hesitant about viewing them as a franchise quarterback, but the Eagles are married to drafting a quarterback high, so why not draft the right one?
Back in the 2014 draft, I was lower on UCF's Blake Bortles. I thought he wasn't a smart quarterback and his intermediate accuracy really worried me. I loved his ability to stand in the pocket under pressure and his deep passing game was tremendous, but I got way to caught up in the minutia of his game and underrated him tremendously. While he still turns the ball over quite a bit in the NFL, he is a big play machine and very clearly looks like the guy in Jacksonville. What I've learned is that two of the most important traits for young quarterbacks is their ability to pass vertically and how they react to pressure and adversity. Lynch is the embodiment of those traits in this class.
In terms of poise, Wentz can have a certain amount of numbness in the pocket in his best moments. His feet are cement most of the time and he is oblivious to pressure which leads to lots of unnecessary sacks. He is definitely tough however and he rarely looks shaken, which is a major plus to him. However, he opens himself up to way too many negative plays in the pocket. On the flip side, Lynch moves incredibly well in and out of the pocket and does a great job making plays when there is pressure. It is imperative to see how quarterbacks can play when moved off of their spot and Lynch is probably the best in the class at this while Wentz is a damn near liability.
Carson Wentz has a very strong arm, but his poor touch down the field really negates what he should be able to do. On the other hand, Paxton Lynch is an outstanding deep passer who can hit any spot down the field on a dime. Lynch and Wentz both come from spread systems where neither had to make very complicated reads, which is a hill they both need to climb, but it is important to note how much more efficient Lynch was at Memphis than Wentz was at North Dakota state. Wentz does not have a single level of the field where he is consistently accurate whereas Lynch has his inconsistencies in the short range, but is a very adept intermediate and deep passer. Level of competition is noteworthy as well, Lynch had his best game of the season against a loaded Ole Miss defense and was playing FBS teams all season while Wentz has played one FBS team in his time as a starter.
That brings up another area where Lynch has an advantage ... Starting time. Wentz started less than 25 games at the FCS level where Lynch has played 38 games at Memphis and has twice as many career pass attempts. That is a massive disparity in experience despite Lynch being younger than Wentz.
It really baffles me that Wentz has been anointed through this process. I get that he has all the tools that teams fall in love with and he is of apparently very high character. However, this ignores that he is a major project. I liked him a lot as a day two pick earlier in the season, but if the Eagles are going to invest massive resources into getting a quarterback this year, it baffles me that it would be him. If the Eagles want to draft a quarterback with the second overall pick, they need to choose the better option in Paxton Lynch.