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Scouting the 2018 NFL Draft - Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

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NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Oklahoma vs Georgia Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For my first profile of 2018, I decided to focus in on 2017 Heisman Trophy winner and Oklahoma star QB Baker Mayfield. Although he was voted the best college player in 2017, it seems as though very few consider him the best QB prospect in this years draft. Does his game translate to the NFL? Is he just another Manziel clone like some are suggesting? Could he be the answer to the Jets never-ending search for a QB solution?

Personal/Physical

Born: April 14th, 1995 (age 23 on draft day)

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Height: 6 3/8”

Weight: 216

Career Stats

2013 - 218/340 (64.1%), 2,315 (6.8 Y/A), 12 TD, 9 INT, 127.7 NCAA rating, 190 rushing yards, 3 TD.

2015 - 269/395 (68.1%), 3,700 (9.4 Y/A), 36 TD, 7 INT, 173.3 NCAA rating, 405 rushing yards, 7 TD.

2016 - 254/358 (70.9%), 3,965 (11.1 Y/A), 40 TD, 8 INT, 196.4 NCAA rating, 177 rushing yards, 6 TD.

2017 - 285/404 (70.5%), 4,627 (11.5 Y/A). 43 TD, 6 INT, 198.9 NCAA rating, 311 rushing yards, 5 TD

Positives:

  • Incredible productive, got better with every single year.
  • Extremely accurate passer. Delivers the ball on time, to the right spot and leads his receivers.
  • Throws a very catchable ball, in that it has a nice spiral and comes out of his hand very cleanly.
  • Excellent improvisational skills when the play breaks down. Feels pressure and moves away from it to extend the play.
  • A great athlete who can makes plays with his legs when he needs to. He’s not as quick as someone like Lamar Jackson, but he has wiggle in the open field and a good nose for the end-zone.
  • Throws with excellent anticipation, releasing the ball while receivers are still in their breaks. Shows a good level of understanding.
  • Throws with good touch, he can sling a ball in there if needed but he shows an ability to judge velocity and trajectory to put his receivers at an advantage.
  • He allows his receivers to make plays on contested balls, but rarely makes boneheaded mistakes and continues to limit interceptions despite throwing more.
  • Excellent delivery while on the move, he keeps his eyes downfield while maintaining good composure under pressure.
  • I see NFL ready processing speed, he works through his progressions and 9/10 he makes the right choice. Not afraid to air it, not afraid to check down. He’s smart.
  • A natural team-leader. His team-mates just gravitate towards him and he shows leadership at the line, and before/after games.
  • Absolutely loves football, you can see that it runs through his veins.
  • A lot of passion on show in ever play, wills himself and those around him to succeed. He’ll be an excellent motivator at the next level.
  • Has a good enough arm to make all the throws in the NFL.

Negatives:

  • Just a shade over 6 feet and some people have a problem with smaller QB’s. (I don’t)
  • Needs to work on his footwork as hasn’t played a lot from under center.
  • Sometimes leaves the pocket before he needs to.
  • Has happy feet when contained in the pocket and forced to throw will people around.
  • Some question his maturity after several well publicized incidents in college.

Game Notes:

  • Excellent game against a good Ohio State team, completing 77.1% of his passes for 386 yards and 3 touchdowns. Looked composed throwing the football, and worked through his progressions well. Ohio State were unable to rumble him despite playing in the show.
  • Had a productive game against Oklahoma State throwing for 598 yards with 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, completing 66.7% of passes. He’d certainly like to have a couple of throws back and Oklahoma State left some wide open receivers.
  • Although he couldn’t find the victory against Georgia I was impressed with his effort in the 4th quarter to tie the game up. Showed a lot of leadership after an interception. He finished with 287 yards and 2 touchdowns to 1 INT, completing 65.7% of his passes while also catching a touchdown pass.

Film

First we’re going to look at a play he made against Ohio State. He looks for his first read, then his second, then he keeps the play alive moving up in the pocket and delivering a strike to his teammate who was in a better position to score. This is about processing speed right here, reading the game and making the right decision.

Next we’re going to the Texas Tech game, a game where Baker really impressed me. On this touchdown in particular he reads the defense, the safety jumps early on the underneath route, Baker fits it over his head and places the ball where only his receiver can make the play:

Now we’re going to look at Mayfield make something with his legs. Like I said he’s not a running QB, despite some impressive numbers, he runs when he has to and when he sees an opportunity. Just like here against Oklahoma State where he moves up in the pocket, throws a stiff arm and dives for the pylon:

Here is a little positive and a little negative. Baker is a little late to get this ball out, but when he does, he shows off an underrated arm, he lets this ball go from his own 20 and the receiver catches it at the opposition 30, and it’s from his back foot as well:

As much as I like Baker, he’s not perfect (no college QB is) so I just want to focus on this interception against oklahoma State. Baker doesn’t make a lot of mistakes but this one frustrated me as I was watching live. You’re up by 3 in the 4th quarter with 3 minutes to go, I appreciate you’re trying to make a play, but this is a bad throw. This is going to the read you wanted pre-snap, as that safety is just sitting in center and you have to not turn the ball over in this situation. There is nothing good about this throw:

However I just want to end on a throw that is common in the NFL, but you’ll be surprised how many college QB’s struggle with something like this. It shows good placement, good touch, good trajectory and just a general understanding of how to put his receiver at an advantage:

Other GGN Views

Matt M (GGM): Mayfield and Rudolph were in my top 5 before it was cool to like them. That doesn’t mean they are immune from criticism. Mayfield’s arm is pretty AVG. When he steps into his throws, he can sling it to wherever the ball needs to go. This means he needs to have perfect footwork or his throws will fall short, or hang. He will need to work on his footwork so he can consistently throw his deep passes with enough velocity.

Draft Grade: First Round Selection

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know that I have a lot of time for Mayfield. I’ve studied his tape for a couple of years now and I truly believe that he’ll be a good to great NFL QB. He has the processing speed, he has the accuracy, the timing, the anticipation and his ability to avoid pressure and extend plays is a good trait to have.

He’s not perfect, you’d want him to be a little taller, and you can easily point to his happy feet in the pocket. However when someone like Josh Allen who completed 55% of his throws in college is getting #1 overall pick buzz, I think it’s safe to argue for Baker being a top 10.

He’s a leader and he has that “It factor”, there is something about him that leads you to believe he’s going to make something special happen. Some people compare him to Manziel, but aside from being a QB on the short side, with a couple of problems off the field, I don’t see it. Manziel loved to party but failed to show his love for football, Baker loves football, that’s clear for anyone to see. Johnny ran because he couldn’t read the field, he ran knowing he was faster than most. Baker runs to set up the pass or because that’s the best option, that’s a huge difference.

You want a QB who can lead and a QB who can inspire, Baker does both of those things. He also completed 7 our of every 10 passes, scores TD’s and doesn’t throw interceptions. He plays with tenacity and fire but is cool under pressure, there are flaws in his game, but when you weight it up, the positives come out victorious in a landslide.

Poll

Where would you take Mayfield

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Anywhere, trade up if need be
    (264 votes)
  • 66%
    I’d happily take him at 6
    (693 votes)
  • 8%
    I don’t want him.
    (93 votes)
1050 votes total Vote Now