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NIU’s Jordan Lynch wants a shot at QB

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Updated: March 23, 2014 6:21AM

INDIANAPOLIS — Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, the 6-foot, 220-pound pride of Mount Carmel, came to the NFL Scouting Combine with big plans, small hands and a ton of South Side fortitude.

‘‘I always say I’m a quarterback first, and I’ve been proving people wrong ever since I started playing, and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll continue to do that,’’ Lynch said Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The question was whether Lynch would consider playing another position to make it in the NFL. He’s the 25th-ranked quarterback, according to CBS Sports. There were 11 quarterbacks drafted last season.

‘‘What I tell teams is they’re going to make a huge mistake if they don’t put me at quarterback,’’ Lynch said. ‘‘But anything to get my foot in the door. If they want me to run down on kickoffs and butt heads, I’ll do that. I’m a team guy; I’ll buy into any system.’’

This is familiar territory for Lynch, who was not heavily recruited out of Mount Carmel in 2009, played behind Chandler Harnish for three seasons at NIU and ended up setting NCAA Division I records for rushing yards by a quarterback, being a two-time Mid-American Conference Most Valuable Player and finishing third in Heisman Trophy voting last season.

The NFL is the biggest leap yet. But he has built up a lot of momentum.

‘‘I ran the triple-option in high school, so I had to prove again in college that I can throw,’’ Lynch said. ‘‘That kind of keeps being the theme. Can I throw? Can I be a quarterback? It has worked out so far. I’ve been proving people wrong ever since. I’m going to prove them wrong again at the combine.’’

Lynch has some making up to do after a poor performance Jan. 19 in the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. After a solid week of practice, he completed 2 of 7 passes for three yards, with two interceptions.

But some experts saw enough to want to see more.

‘‘He’s a kid I root for because he had so much pressure on him at the East-West game, trying to show people he could throw the ball,’’ NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said. ‘‘The kid’s a winner. He’s a tough kid. I think he should be given an opportunity to show he can play quarterback in the NFL.

‘‘And if he can’t, I like his attitude — ‘Hey, give me a shot at quarterback, and if I prove I can’t do it, then I’ll run down on kickoffs or play safety or tailback. I really like that.’’

Lynch models himself after Drew Brees and Russell Wilson — two 6-foot-and-under quarterbacks who have won Super Bowls. But those two have huge hands, which allow them to make accurate throws on the run. Lynch has the smallest hands among all the quarterback prospects at the combine (83/4 inches).

‘‘I don’t buy into any of that stuff,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m a winner. I’m a competitor. I find a way to win. I can hold the football with one hand and throw it — I guess that’s all you really need to know.’’


Twitter: @MarkPotash

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