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Could Memphis QB Paxton Lynch slide to Cardinals in the 2016 NFL Draft?

Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch passes during the school's NFL football pro day Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

As Alabama center Ryan Kelly runs away as the popular guess for whom the Cardinals select in the 2016 NFL Draft, a number of defensive players follow.

Mock draft makers also see Arizona using their 29th overall pick on outside linebackers Noah Spence or Leonard Floyd, or defensive linemen Robert Nkemdiche or Emmanuel Ogbah.

Recently, another name has begun to emerge.

The recent trade by the Los Angeles Rams to move into the No. 1 spot might change how this all plays out.

Memphis Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch appeared on mock drafts by Charles Davis and Charley Casserly, begging the question of whether Lynch could even fall to the Cardinals.

With the Rams expected to pick a quarterback first and the Cleveland Browns also expected to do the same at No. 2, both analysts see Lynch — who is widely regarded as the third-best quarterback in the draft — in a free-fall. Writes Davis:

This might be an absolute pipe dream (with the run on QBs with the top two picks, is there ANY way he lasts this long?!), but it would be an ideal fit. Big, tall, with a cannon arm, and a love of the deep ball, Lynch is made to order for head coach Bruce Arians’ attacking style of offense, and he would get the opportunity to learn behind Carson Palmer for a season or two.

Davis and Casserly aren’t the only experts that have Lynch falling to Arizona in their mock drafts.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Josh Katzenstein of The Detroit News and Daniel Jeremiah of all have Lynch going to Arizona.

Why the buzz over Lynch?

Arizona coach Bruce Arians told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Doug and Wolf that he would like a young quarterback to be groomed behind Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton, and many see the 6-foot-7, 245 pound Lynch as the perfect fit.’s draft profile says that Lynch is athletic for his size and could use a little cleaning up as a prospect.

While he might be categorized as a dual-threat quarterback, he showed that he’d rather use those quick feet to extend plays while still searching for passes.

Unlike other size/speed quarterbacks like Vince Young and Colin Kaepernick, Lynch prefers to extend passing plays with his feet rather than bolting from the pocket, but he is still likely to make plenty of plays with his feet over the long haul. Lynch shows the ability to read defenses and make smart decisions, but not yet at an NFL starting level.

The Cardinals met with Lynch during the NFL Draft Combine, according to the Houston Chronicle, and it arguably wouldn’t be a reach for Arizona to select him.

Now, whether he falls or not is the big question. If he does, there’s a good chance the Cardinals would find it hard to pass on the Memphis product.

To both of those points, mock drafts such as the latest from SB Nation’s Dan Kadar don’t have Lynch lasting beyond the New York Jets’ pick at 20th overall.

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