NFL Nation: Jordan Lynch

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Former Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch picked up the phone last week during the seventh round of the NFL draft with Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman on the other end.

The Bears weren’t sure what direction they’d take with their seventh-round pick, but Trestman made sure to let Lynch know that regardless of how the draft panned out, he wanted the quarterback to be a Chicago Bear. Less than a week later, Lynch -- a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2013 as a quarterback -- lined up in the backfield as an undrafted rookie on Day 1 of Chicago's three-day rookie minicamp inside the Walter Payton Center. There, he caught a pass out in the flat, which represented quite the change for a man who threw all the passes (and well at that) at Northern Illinois.

[+] EnlargeJordan Lynch
Nam Y. Huh/AP PhotoJordan Lynch, a former QB -- yes, QB -- at Northern Illinois, takes a handoff from Jerrod Johnson during Friday's rookie minicamp in Lake Forest, Illinois.
“It wasn't tough at all,” Lynch said of his decision to switch from quarterback to running back. “I’m a football player. I love football, and I’ll do whatever it takes to stay in the NFL. I guess the toughest thing is some footwork drills playing running back and just trying to pick up on little things with special teams and running back."

Interestingly, Lynch didn’t appear to be out of place in his new position, according to Trestman.

“Jordan’s a real football player, there’s no doubt about it,” Trestman said. “In Day 1, he certainly didn’t look out of place. I know he’s hungry for information. He wants to know what we’re going to do tomorrow yesterday, and he wants to know what we’re going to do three days from now today. So he’s hungry to learn. He’s extremely motivated. He’s very smart. It’s just the first day, but he didn’t seem awkward in any way running and catching the football in space.”

At Northern Illinois, Lynch piled up 6,209 yards passing for 51 yard touchdowns and 14 interceptions while completing 61.8 percent of his throws in leading the Huskies to a 24-4 record.

Despite that production, the Bears decided that running back represented the best fit for Lynch in his attempt to earn a roster spot in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers also expressed interest in Lynch, he said.

Considering Lynch rushed for 4,343 yards and 48 touchdowns at NIU, it’s easy to see his appeal as a potential running back for the Bears. Lynch sees it, too, which is why he’s embracing the change instead of resisting it the way so many other quarterbacks in the past have done when asked to switch from quarterback to a new position in the NFL.

“Quarterback is all mental in practice. Now I've got to turn on the physical side in practice and do special teams and always on the go. You know, staying in shape is going to be key,” Lynch said. “I spent a lot of time in the film room in the past years [as a quarterback] and feel like that work ethic is going to carry over to running back; always watching film and trying to pick up the little things. I felt like playing running back and playing special teams could be my calling in the NFL.”

Trestman does, too, and believes Lynch’s performance on Day 1 of minicamp helped the former quarterback to take a step in a positive direction.

“We try to take every guy like Jordan and put him in a place where he can succeed and make the team,” Trestman said. “His best opportunity is not at the quarterback position, although I thought he had a very sufficient workout when he came in. We’re trying to find a place for him, and give him every opportunity to fulfill the goal that he has, which is to play in the National Football League. This is a starting point for him. We’ve got a long way to go, but it was a good start.”
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Undrafted former Northern Illinois quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch has agreed to sign a rookie free-agent deal with the Chicago Bears, according to his agent Cliff Brady.

Lynch, a graduate of Mt. Carmel High School, started two years for the Huskies and led the school to a 24-4 overall record. He finished his college career with 6,209 passing yards, 51 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions. Lynch also rushed for 4,343 yards and 48 touchdowns.

He worked at multiple positions in front of scouts at the NFL combine.

The Bears decline to confirm stories about undrafted free agents until their contracts are officially signed.

It's time to develop a young QB

February, 24, 2014
Feb 24
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Jay CutlerAP Photo/Matt RourkePerhaps Marc Trestman and the Bears can land a QB in May's draft to groom behind Jay Cutler.
INDIANAPOLIS -- When former Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch revealed he had a meeting Friday with the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium, thoughts immediately turned to the run of success experienced by Seattle’s Super Bowl champion signal-caller Russell Wilson, and the fact it's probably time this team found a young gem to develop behind Jay Cutler.

It's past time, actually.

Given the team’s myriad needs on defense, undoubtedly, adding a quarterback seems more luxury than necessity at this point; especially taking into account Cutler’s new seven-year, $126.7 million contract signed in January. But as it stands now, Cutler is the only quarterback on Chicago’s current roster who has thrown a pass in a regular-season game. Veterans Josh McCown and Jordan Palmer are free agents, and Jerrod Johnson is a developmental player who, after a brief stint on the practice squad in September, signed a reserve/futures deal in December.

The club wants to bring back McCown for 2014, and he wants to return, but even that’s not a slam dunk as the Bears still haven’t made an offer.

While not exactly pressing, a need at the position exists. Cutler hasn’t played an entire 16-game season since 2009, missing 13 of the team’s past 64 contests, including five last season because of two different injuries.

Asked at the combine whether the Bears would be open to drafting a quarterback, general manager Phil Emery said, "I'm open to drafting any position that will help us." So the Chicago brass continues to play it close to the vest. But given Bears coach Marc Trestman's pedigree as somewhat of a quarterback whisperer, perhaps with Emery’s help the club could uncover a gem in the mid-to-later rounds, much like the Seahawks did with Wilson.

"It's a process. We'll see where we are with the draft. We’re going to evaluate all the quarterbacks we think can play and we’ll make decisions accordingly," Trestman said. “At this point we’re excited about the fact we’ve got Jay in place because Jay in place allows us to work and fill the work in a lot of different other areas to complete our football team. I’ve been in quarterback rooms where we’ve had a young player. I’ve been in quarterback rooms where we haven’t. It’s whatever is best for the football team. If that player can be developed and help our football team now and in the future, I’m sure he’ll be in the consideration.”

Nearly every quarterback prospect at the combine mentioned the success stories of Wilson. The league's copycat element pretty much assures teams, perhaps even the Bears, are looking to uncover the next one. Chicago certainly needs to be at least making the effort.

Sure, Cutler signed a seven-year deal. But at age 30, he essentially signed a three-year contract containing rolling options that mitigate any cap hit if the team decides to part ways after 2016.

So maybe the Bears take an interest in developing a younger player such as Lynch, or maybe even taking a late-round flier on Georgia’s Aaron Murray, an undersized, yet productive prospect whose stock seems to be sliding because he tore his left ACL on Nov. 23 in a 59-17 win against Kentucky.

"I want a coach that's going to push me. I want someone that's going to drive me every single day to improve my footwork, to improve my accuracy, to never be happy with where I'm at," Murray said.

That guy sounds a lot like Trestman.

Lynch, a graduate of Chicgao's Mt. Carmel High School, is another undersized and highly scrutinized prospect, who was extremely productive in college (6,209 passing yards, 51 touchdown passes), generating a record of 24-4 a starter.

"I’m not that 6-foot-5 pocket passer that stands in the pocket," Lynch said. "One of those things about being 6-foot is that it does play to your advantage at times. Being that small, you’re sitting in the pocket and not a lot of defensive backs can get a read on your eyes. That's one of the advantages of being a shorter guy. I throw with anticipation. I throw to spots. Sometimes I can't really see the receiver so you have to buy into the system, trust the system and throw on time."

Trestman's scheme seems to fit that type of quarterback. Drew Brees, another shorter passer, flourishes in a system very similar in New Orleans.

The Bears last drafted quarterbacks in 2010 (Dan LeFevour) and 2011 (Nathan Enderle), but they weren't as well-equipped to develop the position as they are today with Trestman and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh.

Going into Year 3 as Chicago's general manager, Emery still hasn't selected a quarterback in the draft. Interestingly, the GM has said he'd like to draft at that position every year.

Well, Phil, now's the time.

Ex-NIU QB Lynch meets with Bears

February, 21, 2014
Feb 21
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch is determined to prove he can be an NFL quarterback.

“I’m a quarterback first,” the former Northern Illinois star said on Friday. “I always say I’m a quarterback first and I’ve been proving people wrong ever since I started playing. There is no doubt in my mind I will continue to do that. What I tell teams is that they are going to make a huge mistake if they don’t put me at quarterback.”

Lynch, a graduate of Mt. Carmel High School, started two years for the Huskies and led the school to a 24-4 overall record. He finished his college career with 6,209 passing yards, 51 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions. Lynch also rushed for 4,343 yards and 48 touchdowns.

Even after posting such impressive numbers at Northern Illinois, draft analysts still question Lynch’s arm strength and size -- 6-foot, 216 pounds.

But Lynch said on Friday that NFL teams have not been scared off. The MAC conference player of the year feels he demonstrated acceptable arm strength to NFL scouts during the practices leading up to the East-West Shrine collegiate all-star game in January.

Lynch reports he’s received nothing but positive feedback since he arrived in Indianapolis.

“We just got here yesterday so I’ve only had one day to talk to teams, and I’ve spoken to about 10 of them,” Lynch said. “They’ve showed a lot of interest. With the way quarterbacks are going these days, teams are looking for that mobile guy, someone who can come in and run that zone option read. I think I fit well for them.

I’ve talked to the Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns. Those are the ones I specifically remember.”

Smaller quarterbacks can succeed in the NFL. A perfect example is the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson, the player Lynch tries to model himself after. Lynch actually feels that standing 6-foot gives him an advantage in the pocket.

“I’m not that 6-foot-5 pocket passer that stands in the pocket,” Lynch said. “One of those things about being 6-foot is that it does play to your advantage at times. Being that small, you’re sitting in the pocket and not a lot of defensive backs can get a read on your eyes. That’s one of the advantages of being a shorter guy. I throw with anticipation. I throw to spots. Sometimes I can’t really see the receiver so you have to buy into the system, trust the system and throw on time.

I’m a winner. I’m a competitor. I find a way to win.”

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