MIKE NIETO: QB or not QB? Lynch just wants to play

2014-04-10T18:00:00Z 2014-04-10T23:51:40Z MIKE NIETO: QB or not QB? Lynch just wants to playMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
April 10, 2014 6:00 pm  • 

This is not a scene from Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Mount Carmel grad and Northern Illinois football star Jordan Lynch is not asking the question of "to be or not to be?" about will he try and play quarterback in the NFL.

The answer is yes, he wants to play quarterback and has a tryout with the Bears April 18 in Lake Forest. He said the tryout is for quarterback.

"I want to play quarterback first," Lynch said. "I also am willing to play or try any position to make a team and to help whatever team I am playing for. Special teams, running back, defensive back."

He has said he wants to be rookie of the year, his intention being that if he can help a team get better, make an impact, he can garner such an honor. Anyone who knows Lynch knows he is confident, but not cocky.

Lynch set the college football world on fire the last two years as the Huskies quarterback. Not many gave him a chance to play quarterback at the NCAA Division I level, but he didn't take no for an answer. Granted, the NFL is a big step up, but Lynch is willing to do what it takes. A lot of guys would refuse to change positions, which Lynch might have to do.

"This is not the first time a college player has played a different position in the NFL," Lynch said. "I've read about some of them and Julian Edelman from Kent State is a good example. He was a quarterback and is a wide receiver for the Patriots, one of Tom Brady's go-to receivers."

One local guy who did was Thornton and Indiana star Antwaan Randle-El. He was a quarterback at Indiana, but went on to play wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins. He showed his quarterbacking skills when he threw a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl.

There are others such as Freddie Solomon who also played wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, and Nolan Cromwell and Rex Kern, to name a few. Kern led Ohio State to the 1968 national title at quarterback, then played defensive back for the Baltimore Colts.

At 6-foot, 206 pounds, Lynch is not the prototypical 6-5, drop-back passer, put the 6-foot frame does not take into account the size of his heart or appetite to play at the next level. One of his strengths is his versatility. He is a pretty good passer, but that sometimes is overlooked because of his great running skills.

"I think the versatility is a plus in that I can play different positions," Lynch said. "I know if you can play two or three positions, you have a better chance of making a team."

Lynch was asked to take a few repetitions at defensive back at a recent Northern Illinois pro day. He quickly obliged.

Even as a backup quarterback, if you are a defensive coordinator, you have to prepare for Lynch. He is a different quarterback and NFL teams do not run the option, but there is that threat against the defense that he might take off for a long run. He could scramble back there and make people think back to the Fran Tarkenton era with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants.

While his heart is at quarterback, he is keeping his options open and someone will take a chance on him. They would be foolish not too.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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