Jerry Rice: 49ers should draft Paxton Lynch at No. 7

By Jesse Reed

If Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly listen to San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice, they’ll select Paxton Lynch out of Memphis with the No. 7 overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Speaking on the phone with NFL Network, Rice made it known that Lynch is his preferred pick for the 49ers in the first round:

“I think they’re going offense. It’s got to be quarterback. We don’t know the situation with Colin Kaepernick, if he’s going to be around or if he’s going to be leaving. So the big guy, Lynch, out of Memphis, would be an exceptional quarterback,” Rice told NFL Network’s NFL HQ on Monday. “Big guy, strong arm and I think Chip Kelly had a lot of success with Nick Foles (with the Eagles). I think he could take Lynch under his belt and develop him into a very good quarterback.”

The “situation” with Kaepernick is sticky indeed. To this point, there is no movement in trade talks, though that could change on or right before draft day (Thursday).

Regardless of how it happens, at this point it seems like Kaepernick will be gone before the team hits training camp. This isn’t a guarantee, but when team leaders like NaVorro Bowman say he’ll be “a distraction” if he’s still on the roster, then you know he’s a goner.

Still, 49ers fans better hope the 49ers don’t listen to Rice here. Lynch is a developmental prospect who cannot be thrown into the fire in the NFL without at least two or three years of sitting on the bench.

If the 49ers do look at a quarterback, the better option would be Russell Wilson clone (if a bit lighter) Vernon Adams Jr. out of Oregon by way of Eastern Washington. This kid is a perfect fit for Kelly’s fast-paced offense that relies on timing and accuracy.

Still, the hype is starting to heat up as it relates to Lynch, who many feel is the third-best quarterback in the draft after Jared Goff out of Cal and Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State. Both are expected to be selected one and two, with most feeling Goff is the pick at No. 1 overall to the Los Angeles Rams.

Lynch very well could be drafted in the top 10. Perhaps the 49ers should pretend to be interested in the hopes that a team like the New York Jets would be interested in making a trade. That would be a better outcome for San Francisco, which might try and land a guy like Muhammad Wilkerson in the deal.