Rookie Rundown: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Rookie Rundown: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

NFL Draft

Rookie Rundown: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Baker Mayfield comes in as one of the most interesting rookies and is sure to generate both proponents and detractors – his college experience was no different. For those who do not like him, he reminds them perhaps too much of another brash, cocky Heisman Trophy winner – Johnny Manziel. The comparison is mostly generated from both players playing very emotionally. That’s fiery to Sooner fans and a punk to opponents who wouldn’t like him anyway.

In fairness, Manziel only played two seasons and added as much as a rusher as he did as a passer. He relied heavily on Mike Evans. And he was lighter and shorter.

More relevant, Mayfield played four years and excelled as a passer. He won a Heisman Trophy, Davy O’Brien Award  (best quarterback) and the Maxwell Award (best college player).

Mayfield was the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year at Texas Tech but transferred to Oklahoma and sat out 2014 when he was not just handed the starting job at Tech as a sophomore. Mayfield was a walk-on at Tech since colleges were concerned with his size. He led the nation in passing efficiency for two years. Mayfield won virtually every accolade there was, if not more than once. His only dings are his size and past antics. They matter more to some. Not at all to others.

Height: 6-1
Weight: 215 pounds
40 time: 4.84 seconds

This is a QB-heavy draft.  Mayfield is considered in the Top 6 and the Top 3 to some. He’s a bit of a wildcard among the quarterbacks.

Year Games Runs Yards TD Passes Comp Yards TD INT Total Yards Total TDs
2013* 8 88 190 3 340 218 2315 12 9 2505 15
2015 13 141 405 7 395 269 3700 36 7 4105 43
2016 13 78 177 6 358 254 3965 40 8 4142 46
2017 14 97 311 5 404 285 4627 43 6 4938 48

*Texas Tech

Pros

  • Highly accurate and very efficient when he throws. Can hit tight windows, and is equally adept at finding receivers over the entire field. Big arm and yet just as good on shorter, timing routes.
  • Doesn’t rely heavily on any single player. He connected with  14 different receivers for a touchdown last year.
  •  Highly competitive and great leader. Can rally the offense around him and is well liked by teammates.
  • Despite off-the-field issues, is mature in football terms after playing four years and turning 23 right before the draft. Showed progress and improvement in every year.
  • Ranks seventh in NCAA Division 1 for career passing yards (14,607). Won the Heisman with 86% of the possible votes.
  • Not a great runner but can extend plays with his legs and can improvise when the blocking breaks down.
  • Very smart. Though results are not public for the Athletic Intelligence Quotient (Wonderlic’s successor), Mayfield scored the second highest of the 63 quarterbacks tested since 2012.

Cons

  • At 6-1, is a few inches shorter than prototypical and his mobility may be tested early and often depending on where he lands. There is always a concern with batted passes the shorter a quarterback is.
  • Tends to hold the ball too long trying to make a play instead of just getting rid of it when receivers are covered. Will take more sacks in the NFL if that is not addressed.
  • Cockiness and emotional play led to several issues and problems.  Planted OU flag on the painted “O” in the middle of Buckeye Stadium after a win and later apologized. He also famously grabbed his crotch and mouthed “F-you” at the Kansas Jayhawks sideline and also had to later apologize. His brashness is considered a maturity issue. Coming on the heels of the Johnny Manziel meltdown doesn’t help the outlook some scouts have of him, warranted or not.
  • Public intoxication charge with embarrassing video in Summer of 2017.
  • Went 34-6 over three years at Oklahoma but will very likely not have early success in the NFL. How well he deals with a less competitive team will test maturity.

Fantasy outlook

Mayfield is one of the most interesting players in the draft and the most contested as to where he should be taken.  If Mayfield was 6-5 instead of 6-1, and never had the behavioral issues that called his maturity into question, he’d likely be a slam dunk for the first quarterback drafted. There are some who feel he belongs there anyway.

Size concerns are why he was a walk-on at Texas Tech and he more than proved it was not an issue. He’s exceeded expectations at every turn. The disagreement of where he should be taken make his fantasy prospects very hard to call as a rookie. It all depends on the quality of the offense and need to press him into immediate duty.

If the Browns opt for Saquon Barkley with their 1.01 pick, they may scoop up Mayfield with their 1.04 but have at least said that Tyrod Taylor would be the unquestioned starter. Other teams that could select him are most likely the Jets, Cardinals, Dolphins, Saints, Chargers, Giants and Bills. Rookie expectations should always be held in check but the success of DeShaun Watson last year will likely generate more optimism for the position.

Mayfield is a name that the crowd will be waiting to hear in April. His fantasy value is more in a dynasty league but so far he’s been very hard to overestimate.

Correction: A previous version incorrectly stated Mayfield was charged with DUI instead of public intoxication.

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