INDIANAPOLIS: Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch is driven by the label draft analysts have assigned him.
Most gurus believe Lynch will become a first- or second-round pick on April 28, but they also think he’s a distant third behind top-rated quarterbacks Jared Goff of California and Carson Wentz of North Dakota State.
The 6-foot-7, 244-pound Lynch is determined to prove to the Browns and other quarterback-needy teams he stacks up well against the best.
“There’s always something there to put a chip on your shoulder and drive yourself to work even harder,” Lynch said Friday during the NFL Scouting Combine. “That’s how it’s been for me since I came out of high school. I mean, I didn’t have any offers. I got to Memphis and people said, ‘Why are you going to Memphis? They’ll never win ball games.’ So we were the underdog there, and look what happened.
“So I’ve been used to this, and I’m going to approach it like I always have. I’m just going to keep my head down, worry about myself and go to work.”
Lynch’s chance to showcase his talent will come Saturday when quarterbacks participate in on-field workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Unlike previous years, all of the marquee quarterbacks are expected to throw.
The opportunity to throw side-by-side with Goff and Wentz is “very important” for Lynch.
“It’s so close with all the quarterbacks. There’s really no guy who’s standing out right now,” said Lynch, who met Browns coach Hue Jackson a few weeks ago during Super Bowl festivities. “So any little edge you can get to compete against these guys whether it’s throwing or agility or any of that stuff, you kind of want to take advantage of that.
“So whenever I first got invited to the combine, it was a no-brainer for me that I was going to throw just because I want to be able to compete and go show all those coaches and GMs what they could get in person when I’m throwing to receivers live. But I know [Goff and Wentz] are going to be ready to compete, and it should be a lot of fun.”
The race between Goff and Wentz to become the first quarterback picked, likely second overall by the Browns, could become even more intriguing if Lynch manages to outshine them. There’s also a chance the Browns could bypass a quarterback at No. 2 and target Lynch, or another prospect who plays the position, with the first pick of the second round (No. 32 overall).
Lynch, though, might need to alleviate some concerns unrelated to how he throws Saturday.
He revealed his medical exams at the combine “spooked a team or two” because a piece of bone from a fractured clavicle was detected on X-rays “just floating around in there.”
Lynch said issues with the AC joint in his throwing shoulder and both knees were examined.
“I didn’t miss a game or a practice or a single throw ’cause of it, and none of those injuries bother me today,” he said. “I’m 100 percent.”
The agents of Colin Kaepernick reportedly asking the San Francisco 49ers to trade their client raises questions about whether the Browns are interested, even though drafting a quarterback at No. 2 appears to be the likeliest scenario for the franchise.
Jackson loved Kaepernick entering the 2011 draft. The head coach of the Oakland Raiders at the time, Jackson ranked Kaepernick as the best quarterback in the class, which included No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers.
In 2013, Jackson told Sports Illustrated the Raiders contemplated trading up from the second to first round for Kaepernick, but they stopped short of making a deal. The 49ers chose him with the fourth pick of the second round, and Jackson lamented the missed opportunity.
“No question in my mind we wanted it to happen, and no question I thought it could happen,” Jackson told SI. “We wanted the kid in the worst way.
“Scouting him, I fell in love with the kid. Leader, won a ton of games at Nevada, really impressive when you talked to him, strong, all the tools to win in the NFL. No doubt in my mind he was going to be good.”
Kaepernick, 28, was benched after eight games last season and has had surgeries on his shoulder, knee and thumb since November.
Calling all Bengals
Cincinnati defensive coordinator Paul Guenther told Bengals.com Jackson wants to swipe some players away from his former team next month in free agency.
“Hue wants them all up in Cleveland,” Guenther said via Bengals.com editor Geoff Hobson’s Twitter account.
Jackson, the offensive coordinator of the Bengals the past two seasons, said Wednesday he values free agents who have previously played in his system.
Wide receivers Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, safeties Reggie Nelson and George Iloka, outside linebacker Emmanuel Lamur and defensive end Wallace Gilberry are among the Bengals scheduled to hit the open market March 9.
Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa was ejected last month from the final game of his collegiate career, the Buckeyes’ 44-28 win over Notre Dame in the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl, because of a controversial targeting penalty.
“Of course, I wanted to finish it a different way, being out there with my team,” Bosa said. “But seeing them able to come back after losing me and a bunch of other guys on the D-line and pulling out that win, it was pretty exciting for me.”
Should the NCAA adjust its targeting rule?
“It’s not really my place to make that call,” Bosa replied. “But [it’s] a pretty inconsistent call, an inconsistent penalty. I’m not in college anymore, so I don’t have to worry about it.”
Ohio State D-tackle Adolphus Washington apologized for his collegiate career being cut short.
Washington was arrested Dec. 10 for soliciting a prostitute. He also was legally carrying a gun at the time.
Washington said Urban Meyer suspended him from the Fiesta Bowl because of the weapon possession, which violates the coach’s core values for the program.
“I just want to apologize to Buckeye nation, to my teammates, to my family,” Washington said. “I made a really dumb, impulsive decision and had to pay the penalty for it.”
Washington is trying to convince teams at the combine his character shouldn’t be a concern.
“Up to this point, I’d never gotten in trouble, never failed a drug test, never did drugs, never did anything,” he said. “It was just an impulsive decision, and I had to pay the price.”
•?49ers coach Chip Kelly has hired Kevin O’Connell as an assistant, Footballscoop.com reported. O’Connell spent this past season as the quarterbacks coach of the Browns.
•?Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith has no hard feelings against Ohio State left tackle Taylor Decker, whose block in the Fiesta Bowl led to Smith planting his left foot awkwardly and suffering a devastating knee injury with two torn ligaments. “No hard feelings,” Smith said, adding Decker called him two weeks after the game. “Me and Taylor talked. All is well.”
•?The NFL’s salary cap for the 2016 season has reportedly been set at $155.27 million, an increase of about $12 million from last year.