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Scouting Profile: Quarterback Baker Mayfield

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Apr 11, 2018

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is nothing like Johnny Manziel, says NFL analyst Mike Tagliere

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Height: 6’1″
Weight: 215 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.84 seconds
Hand Size: 9.3 inches

Some will say that Mayfield has height concerns, but batted balls have never been an issue for him. In fact, there are two quarterbacks in the NFL right now who are shorter than him – Russell Wilson and Drew Brees. Fun fact: Aaron Rodgers is just one inch taller than him, while Brock Osweiler is seven inches taller than him. Point being, size shouldn’t be a big part of your evaluation of a quarterback. Maybe as a tie-breaker if you’re torn between two players, but that’s about it.

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You won’t find better stats than the ones Mayfield posted while at Oklahoma, as he totaled almost 12,300 passing yards over his three years, while throwing 119 touchdowns compared to just 21 interceptions. There’s a reason he won the Heisman trophy for his performance, as even his biggest detractors can’t use his numbers against him.

Arm Strength/Throwing Motion: 4.0 out of 5 stars
There was apparently some concern about Mayfield’s arm-strength coming into the Combine, though he silenced the doubters when he was clocked in at 60 MPH, which ranked second to only Josh Allen. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that he’s going to throw the ball 70 yards down the field, but that’s not what matters here. Mayfield has plenty of juice in his throws and is mechanically sound. He does drop his arm a bit too much in his windup, though it’s not a major flaw. He’s able to maintain his power through his throws while on the run, too, whether it be to the right or the left, though his accuracy is where he shines most on those throws. He’s got plenty of arm-strength to make every NFL throw. One slight knock is that he’ll sometimes rely on his arm too much, throwing off his back foot. We saw Jay Cutler rely on his arm-strength too much, often leading to interceptions, though his college TD:INT ratio was nowhere near Mayfield’s.

Accuracy: 5.0 out of 5 stars
If there’s one thing that nobody can debate, it’s Mayfield’s ridiculous preciseness. It’s not often you find a college quarterback who is able to hit their targets in-stride on nearly every target. It’s the reason he didn’t have a single game where he completed less than 63 percent of his passes in 2017. You’d have to go all the way back to September of 2016 in order to find a game where he completed less than 60 percent of his passes. There were times where his receivers would get open and almost slow down anticipating the ball, only for it to go off their fingertips because they didn’t continue at the same speed. His accuracy is the best in-class and it’s not all that close.

Mobility: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Some will dock Mayfield for his 4.84-second 40-yard dash, but you really shouldn’t. Escapability is what matters and Mayfield displayed that time-and-time again throughout his Oklahoma career rushing for almost 900 yards and 18 touchdowns during his three years. He keeps his eyes downfield while maneuvering around defenders, too. While some quarterbacks are going to take off sprinting when they get outside the pocket, Mayfield is a throw-first quarterback who only runs when he must. His escapability is strong enough to buy him time for his pass-catchers to get open. He did get slightly docked in this category because he might not be Michael Vick, but he’s most definitely above-average.

Pocket Awareness: 3.0 out of 5 stars
If there’s one area where Mayfield can get knocked in his grades, it’s here as he can sometimes get happy feet while maneuvering the pocket. He doesn’t necessarily see ghosts but can be slow to slide up into the pocket, or there’ll be times where he’ll just slide to his right or left rather than just step forward. With that being said, he wasn’t a quarterback who took many bit hits, which is a tribute to his awareness as to what is going on around him. The spread offense he was in at Oklahoma was different than what he’ll do in the NFL, so this is an area of his game that’ll need to be refined. His mobility made this part of his game look a lot better.

Vision/Decision-Making: 4.0 out of 5 stars
It’s odd that some people criticize Mayfield’s ability to hit an open wide receiver. I mean, how many times have you watched a wide receiver get open, only for his quarterback to completely miss him and throw to another target? While his offense created solid opportunities, I refuse to hold that against him. It’s his job to see the open targets and hit them. His wide receivers haven’t been anything special throughout his college career, so it’s not a Mike Evans/Johnny Manziel-type thing where he simply chucked up deep 50/50 balls. Mayfield extends plays with his legs and that’s where the vision comes into play. Do you think they design him to zig-zag around defenders in the backfield?

Anticipation: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Here’s another area where Mayfield’s game could use some slight refining, as he will sometimes wait too long for the play to develop rather than throwing the ball before a break in a receiver’s route. There’s pros and cons to this because if you wait too long, the window is going to close, however if you throw it too soon, you’ll be prone to interceptions. Mayfield hasn’t perfected that window, but he’s very close considering how little he turned the ball over. He throws with excellent anticipation as to where the target is going to be and hitting him in stride, but he may not have as long to throw at the NFL level, so he’ll need to speed up his internal clock just a bit. He may throw with greater anticipation than I even think, though, as a reporter asked him about his lack of height affecting his ability to see open receivers. His response was that if he’s waiting to see a wide receiver get open, he’s already too late.

Potential Landing Spot
There should be a possibility of Mayfield going to the Browns at No. 1 overall, but they seem content on one of Sam Darnold or Josh Allen. Because of that, I’m projecting Mayfield to go to the Jets. He’s got the personality to play in New York and handle the media, as he’s got a no-BS mentality. They don’t have the greatest of offensive lines at the moment and will need him to use his mobility more often than not. They have overhauled their defense and appear to be moving in the right direction, so look for them to start building a team around him in this draft.

NFL Comparison
If there’s someone who tells you that Mayfield is the next Johnny Manziel, do not… I repeat, do not listen to any of their football opinions. What that says is that they’ve never actually sat down and watched the two players play the game and have adapted to the fool’s mentality. Watching him, he compares to Russell Wilson. Both are deadly accurate, both are mobile but look to pass-first, both are shorter than what’s considered the “ideal” height, and both are natural leaders on the football field. If someone tells you that Mayfield is “cocky” or “immature,” go and watch any interview from one of his current or former teammates. Each and every one of them would fight for him on and off the field. I played sports and can tell you that players don’t rally around someone who is cocky. He’s confident, and yes, there’s a difference.

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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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