The 2018 NFL Draft class is stacked with quarterback talent. That means Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. So over the next few weeks, we’re going to project each of these names.
Baker Mayfield a�� Oklahoma
2017 Statistics:A�4,627 yards, 70.5 percent completion rate, 48 TD (5 rushing), 6 INT.
Projection:A�Mid first-round to early second-round
Potential Landing Spots:A�Broncos, Bengals, Chargers, Bills, Redskins, Giants (Round 2)
The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner has hands down the best stat line out of all of this year’s quarterback prospects.
There are two major factors that keep him from being the No. 1 QB in the draft, however. First, his height. And secondly, the top-notch players he had surrounding him at Oklahoma.
The number of notable QBs in the NFL shorter than 6′ 2a�? are very few. This list consists of Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Michael Vick. That’s about it. Essentially, the chances of a quarterback being successful in the NFL at this height are very slim. The lineman in front of them are just so tall that it makes it difficult for short QBs to see downfield.
While at Oklahoma, Mayfield has been surrounded by talented receivers and lineman that make his job much easier. It’s difficult for a team like the Browns to tell if he will be able to operate their offense with less talented players around him going against tougher competition than he is used to.
Despite his height, Mayfield has shown his ability to sling the ball extremely well. He shows fantastic mobility in the pocket and is very comfortable making throws on the run. He steps up in the pocket with ease with the right timing,. And although he doesn’t have the most powerful arm out there, he is still able to hit his receivers on the run.
All of this is great, but here’s why he’s a busta��much like Johnny Manziel was. As we have seen from both his on- and off-field actions, Mayfield has major character problems. These are not as extreme as Manziel’s were, but they are still very apparent.
He floats the ball a bit too much without reason; this will lead to NFL-caliber DBs being able to read him like a book. His release time is also slower when he floats the ball, and these throws normally lack a tight spiral. Therefore, the ball is travelling more slowly through the air. This is going to lead to a horrendous TD/INT ratio in the NFL, despite his ratio being so good in college. NFL safeties will have a field day with Baker floating the ball to them like that.
Mayfield could be drafted anywhere from the Broncos pick at No. 5 to the Giants second-round pick at No. 34. Most likely, however, he will be off the board by the 20th pick. There are a decent number of QB-needy teams in the mid first-round range that will probably take a chance on him. They include the Bengals, Cardinals and Chargers.
But the teams I think he will fit with most are either the Bengals or Cardinals. Denver could also be a fit. But after striking out on Paxton Lynch in 2016, I believe they would rather target a free agent QB like Kirk Cousins. Meanwhile, the Bengals need to try to replace Andy Daltona��who hasn’t performed too well in the past few years. And the Cardinals need a starting QB to replace recently-retired Carson Palmer.
Mayfield will be a very interesting player to watch. One, to see how and if he develops into an NFL-caliber quarterback. Or, if he really is just a bust.