Ben Roethlisberger’s injury nearly decimated the Steelers’ chances of making the playoffs this season. It became painfully obvious that Byron Leftwich is no longer a realistic option as a backup quarterback due to his s.l.o.w. delivery, and Charlie Batch will soon be getting his AARP card in the mail. Ben’s style of scrambling and extending the play raises his chances of taking big hits. His offensive line does not really help him out either. The Steelers will very soon need to address the backup quarterback situation. Their answer could be this draft or next in Norther Illinois’ Jordan Lynch.
I watched a good bit of the Orange Bowl on Tuesday night and liked what I saw in Jordan Lynch. At 6′-0 and 216 lbs., Jordan is a mid-size quarterback who has a strong arm, a good sense of when to get out of the pocket, and a set of legs that put him as the leading rushing quarterback in the NCAA this season. Lynch gained 1815 yards with 19 TD’s on the ground this season at NIU. He threw for 3138 yards, 25 TD’s, 60% completion, and a 144 QB rating.
Although Lynch struggled a bit against Florida State Seminole team that had a huge physical advantage on both sides of the ball, he had good bouts of stellar play and stood tall in pressured situations. He hit speedster Akeem Daniels in stride 40 yards down the field in the second half to spark a score from the NIU offense. He only gained 44 yards on the ground, his lowest of the season, but had a 22 yard scamp on a busted play.
I saw a lot of Big Ben in Lynch in the Orange Bowl. Lynch took some tough hits from some big Seminole defensive linemen and backers throughout the night but popped right back up each time. He scrambled well, and except for one errant throw/poor decision, he protected the ball very well. As I mentioned earlier, Lynch has a long arm and a quicker release than most. What Lynch has an edge on Big Ben is his speed on the ground. Where Roethlisberger is phenomenal in scrambling, dodging defenders and extending the play, Lynch can scramble and find an opening with his own legs.
NIU designed many QB run plays, so Lynch picked up a ton of yardage on the ground. I doubt Todd Haley and the Steelers offense would craft any special Wildcat plays (excuse me while I throw up) around a guy like Lynch, he would certainly excel where Tebow lapsed. He has natural talent and ability with his arm. A good arm and the ability to scramble – I think he would fit well in the current offense and where it might end up as Haley continues to tweak and scheme.
It’s unknown as of yet if Lynch will enter the draft this season or wait until next. Either way, I think the Steelers and Kevin Colbert should take a long look at Lynch if and when he enters the combine. He certainly is a mid-level QB who could find himself sitting until the second round – both this year and next. And, that sits well where the Steelers might look for a QB to groom.