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April 16, 2014

There is one player most NFL experts aren’t talking about when it comes to this year’s NFL Draft, especially when we’re talking quarterback.  Northern Illinois record setting signal caller Jordan Lynch is getting little, if no attention, as a possible NFL QB.  After checking many mock draft web sites, most are ranking Lynch the 19th to the 24th best QB in the 2014 draft.  That puts Lynch behind the likes of Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garappolo, Cornell’s Jeff Matthews and SMU’s Garrett Gilbert.  So why is Lynch so low in the rankings? 

Lynch is undoubtedly one of the most productive quarterbacks in NCAA history. To give you an idea of just how good Lynch has been over the last two seasons, take a look at his numbers:

In two seasons as a starter, led NIU to a 24-4 record with three wins over BCS teams. Leaves NIU with three single game, 16 single season and six career records. Set five NCAA FBS records for quarterback rushing. Accounted for 100 total touchdowns (51 passing, 48 rushing, 1 receiving) and averaged 7.1 yards per play for his career. Threw at least one touchdown pass in 26 of last 27 games. Ranks second on the NIU career total offense list, is the Huskies' No. 3 all-time rusher and is in the Top 10 in 24 career categories. 

Not bad for the 19th or even 24th best QB prospect in the draft.  That wasn’t all Lynch accomplished. Last year alone: 

A finalist for the Heisman Trophy who placed third in the final vote to record the best finish in history by a player from the Mid-American Conference. Selected as one of five finalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. Finalist for the AT&T All-America Player of the Year honor. First team All-American at the all-purpose position by the Associated Press, Phil Steele and Lindy's. Earned second-team All-America honors from USA Today and CBSSports.com and was honorable mention by SI.com. Won the Vern Smith Leadership Award, presented to the MAC's top player as voted by league coaches, for the second consecutive season. Also named the league's Offensive Player of the Year for the second time and was the first team All-MAC quarterback. Top five finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the 2013 Senior CLASS Award, which recognized seniors who excel in citizenship, leadership and the classroom as well as on the field. One of 10 finalists for the Manning Quarterback Award. Was a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award. Scored two rushing touchdowns and passed for one while compiling 345 yards of total offense versus Bowling Green in the MAC Championship game. Selected as the West Division MVP with 126 rushing and 219 passing yards to notch his 12th career 100-yard rushing/200-yard passing game. Threw a touchdown pass in 13 of 14 games (all but Toledo) and had a rushing and passing TD in 10 contests. Totaled over 300 yards of total offense in 11 games. Accounted for 343.7 yards of offense per game and was responsible for 48 touchdowns, including one receiving. Led all active players with 4,343 career rushing yards and first in 100-yard rushing games with 22. Averaged 137.1 rushing yards per game and his 1,920 rushing yards ranked second in the country and broke his own NCAA record for QB rushing. Set the school record for pass completions in a season with 253 and for points, touchdowns, rushing TDs and touchdowns responsible for. 

Wow, he’s a great athlete and a very smart player, but not good enough to play QB in the NFL?  Maybe that’s the problem, he is considered more of an athlete than a quarterback.  ESPN’s Mel Kiper considers Lynch to be a running back prospect.  Others consider Lynch could be better suited as a slot back or wide receiver.  And yet others look at Lynch as a defensive back. 

Jordan Lynch works out like a madman.  He puts in time working out like a running back. He is one of the toughest players in this draft but his size doesn’t help his cause (6-0 217).  No, Lynch isn’t 6-5 and 230 pounds, but neither is Super Bowl winning QB Russell Wilson. Neither are other prospects like Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M (6-0 207), Aaron Murray of Georgia (6-0 207), Conner Shaw of South Carolina (6-0 206) or Keith Price of Washington (6-1 202).  I can remember when Wilson (5-11 205) was drafted out of Wisconsin and all the experts didn’t think he should play QB because he wasn’t big enough.  Wilson was drafted by Seattle in the third round of the 2012 draft. Wonder how that worked out? When are scouts going to quit using height as an excuse not to take a talented quarterback? 

I am sure scouts and draft experts feel Lynch’s arm isn’t strong enough or he isn’t fast enough or quick enough but I sure hope someone gives him a chance to prove them wrong.

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