Former Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch earned a number of impressive titles during his time as a Husky: All-American, Heisman Trophy finalist, and NCAA record holder chief among them. Yet, despite the numbers and the accolades, Lynch will likely have to wait a long time to hear his name called at Radio City Music Hall.
A two-year starter, Lynch was able to sit and learn behind another accomplished NIU signal caller in Chandler Harnish (who, for what it's worth, was drafted with the final pick in the 2012 draft by the Colts). While the backup, Lynch did put up pretty good numbers, albeit in a small sample size. He threw for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 608 yards on 76 carries and six TD's.
After taking over the reins from Harnish as a junior in 2012, Lynch really took off as the scrambling quarterback everyone knows him as. In his two years as Northern Illinois' starter he threw for over 6,000 yards and ran for over 3,500, while posting a TD/INT ratio of 49-14. This past season he set the NCAA record for rushing yards by a QB in a season with 1,920, breaking the previous record of 1,815 which he had set the previous year. He set the single game rushing record by a QB, then broke it a few weeks later. He also led the Huskies to their one and only BCS bowl, the 2013 Orange Bowl where they ended up losing to Florida State.
An impressive career, no doubt, but is it a stepping stone for a future NFL quarterback or a harbinger of an eventual position change?
One of the biggest knocks on Lynch's game is his accuracy. His completion percentages at Northern Illinois were 60.2 and 62.6 percent, respectively, low numbers compared to the other draft prospects at the quarterback position (for comparison's sake the numbers for Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, and Johnny Manziel this past year were 71, 67.8, and 69.9 respectively). His accuracy troubles were highlighted in the East-West Shrine Game when he threw two picks early on and was replaced (and shown up by) FCS product Jimmy Garoppolo (whom Lynch beat in an instant classic this past season).
As of right now, Lynch is being portrayed as a typical "position change" quarterback, having worked out as a running back and defensive back at his pro day. His athleticism will definitely be his ally come draft day, as all it takes is one team to be smitten with the prospect of turning this former MACtion star into a serviceable safety, slot receiver, or running back.
According to his NFL.com combine profile, Lynch was given a player grade of 5.05, which indicates he has a "better than average chance of making an NFL roster." Not exactly a ringing endorsement. He did, however, have the fastest three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle run times for all quarterbacks at the combine, which highlights his aforementioned athleticism.
He will visit the Chicago Bears for an official visit on April 18th, where he says he will be trying out as a QB. That would be a fit, considering the Bears need another quarterback on their roster and since drafting a Chicago-area QB with exceptional running ability from a MAC school is something they've done before (Dan LeFevour) this could definitely be a tell.
If you want to see some more in-depth analysis on Lynch by someone who is actually a professional, tune into the ESPN family of networks starting April 28 for Jordan Lynch's episode of Gruden's QB Camp (preview video below):