INDIANAPOLIS – At the same time Johnny Manziel addressed the largest media gathering at the NFL Scouting Combine thus far, another quarterback prospect responded to a litany of doubts.
Jordan Lynch is just trying to get drafted and respected as a quarterback – a more difficult battle than surefire first-rounder Manziel’s attempts to shed his “party boy” image.
Lynch was confident, if not cocky about his abilities to play quarterback in the NFL when talking to reporters at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I’m a quarterback first. I’ve been proving people wrong ever since I started playing, and there’s no doubt in my mind I’ll continue to do that,” Lynch said. “What I tell teams is that they’re going to make a huge mistake if they don’t put me at quarterback.”
The former Northern Illinois quarterback was quick to remind us, though, that he also is a team player, and if a position switch is what’s required, he’ll do it.
“Anything to get my foot in the door,” he said. “If they want me to run down a kickoff and butt heads, I’ll do that. I’m a team guy, [I will] buy into any system.”
After his performance in the East-West Shrine Game, some thought a move to safety would be in Lynch’s future, but he’s sticking with quarterback and said if he did have to change positions, he’d prefer to stay on offense.
“In my head, I’d like to stay on offense, Running back or slot receiver,” he said. “I feel like I need the ball in my hands, I’m a playmaker.”
As of Friday, Lynch had met with 10 different teams, including the Bears. He will throw for teams Sunday.
Two years ago, another NIU product came to the combine trying to get noticed alongside BCS school quarterbacks.
“Going to the combine in itself can be a very stressful thing, but when you go as a MAC quarterback, you’re fighting uphill,” Chandler Harnish told the Fort Wayne News Sentinel this week.
Lynch said that Harnish, the player he backed up for two years, has helped him along the way.
“He kind of walked me through the combine, things to look forward to, this and that,” Lynch said. “He helped me one day with my X’s and O’s and just watching some film and going over some stuff.”
Harnish was Mr. Irrelevant, the final pick in the 2012 draft, but there was no question about his position. Lynch has to fight the stigma of coming from a MAC school and his potential under center, but he wants to match his college teammate.
“I hope to have the same journey [Harnish] had,” Lynch said.
When quarterbacks got measured, Lynch came in at 6-foot even, he said, maybe a little above, which is taller than Manziel and a good sign.
However, the measurements added another trait to the list of reasons to doubt Lynch.
His hands measured 8 7/8 inches, tied for the smallest of any quarterback, where hand size is a big emphasis. At this point, though, Lynch knows how to respond to any doubt.
“I don’t buy into any of that stuff,” he said. “I’m a winner, a competitor. I find a way to win. I can hold a football with one and throw it. I guess that’s all you really need to know.”