(Leigh Steinberg, right, with actor Cuba Gooding from the movie, “Jerry Maguire”)
(Photos courtesy of Leigh Steinberg)
Talk of Fame Network
Once upon a time, Leigh Steinberg was known as the agent to quarterbacks … and not just any quarterbacks, either. Some of the best quarterbacks in the business had Steinberg behind them.
There were Hall-of-Famers Steve Young, Warren Moon and Troy Aikman. And Drew Bledsoe, Jake Plummer, Mark Brunell, Kerry Collins and Ben Roethlisberger, with Steinberg once representing 21 quarterbacks — half of whom were starters.
But that was then, and this is now, and now Steinberg is back with another top quarterback, the University of Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, who is expected to be a first-round draft choice. But Steinberg believes he’s more than that, as he told us on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, and pay attention, people: The man knows the position.
“I think,” he said of Lynch, “he has the highest upside of any of the quarterbacks in the draft.”
That list includes Carson Wentz, whom many project as the first quarterback chosen, and Cal’s Jared Goff, who is expected to be a top-10 choice. But Steinberg doesn’t buy the projections, and he explained why when he sat down with us.
“What’s intriguing to me is the fact that we’ve now accepted the projections of draft prognosticators as reality when scouting is still going on,” he said. “So there’s a set of people who sort of divined that Carson Wentz goes to Cleveland, and Jared Goff goes to San Francisco. I’d be really amazed if those two teams had already made those decisions.
“If you look at it, the two teams I mentioned have quarterback needs. Dallas does, too, but I think (Cowboys’ owner) Jerry Jones thinks that Tony Romo can play for three or four more years. He might be the only one who thinks that. So that might not be a primary need. And then, as you go down, you’ve got the Rams and Philadelphia. Denver still hasn’t done anything to really solve their quarterback problem (and) the New York Jets. So they’re all potential landing spots.”
So who makes the first move on Lynch? Patience, Steinberg said. Lynch doesn’t have his Pro Day workout until early April, and the draft is a month away. Meaning? Meaning there’s plenty of time for draft boards to readjust.
“I remember sitting there with Ben Roethlisberger (in 2004) when the two first teams (looking for quarterbacks) were San Diego and the Giants,” he said. “And (we said), ‘Oh, poor Ben. He didn’t go number four.’ Well, he only went to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and that was like … probably out of all the 32 teams … the ideal spot for him to go. So I’m not quite sure (where Lynch goes). I don’t think we have enough information yet.
“Someone’s going to fall in love with Paxson. Someone’s going to fall in love with the other two quarterbacks, who I think are excellent, and it will all play out. I look at this (as) after 42 years that there’s Draft Day where you can get all excited and everything, and then there’s your career. And I’d much rather have him go to a team where he’s got a chance to really turn into an outstanding quarterback for the next 10-to-12 years.”