Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Baker Mayfield - 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report

You know what the most fun thing about Oklahoma quarterback, Baker Mayfield, is? No matter who you talk to, every single person seems to have a strong opinion of Mayfield. Somehow, nobody is on the fence about this guy. Either he's a gamer who knows what it takes to win in the biggest games, or he is the next Johnny Manziel, who is going to give more headaches for his own team than the opposing one. I'm much closer to the former than the latter, as I think the worst thing he really did was grab his dick at a team that had been playing dirty trying to stop him. There are worse things. Still, I wasn't sure what to think of Mayfield as a quarterback, so I took a deep dive and checked out his games against Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Kansas State.

The first thing that I really liked is his ability to scan the field and work through progressions.

On this play, you can see his first option is off to the right side, he then looks all the way to the left before coming back to the middle of the field to find an open receiver 15 yards down the field on third down. He also does a good job of stepping up in an open area of the pocket so the rush coming around both edges never gets near him.

Pocket awareness was something that he was able to consistently show as he has a much tighter pocket on this play.
This play isn't going to wow anyone in the stat sheet, but it's one of my favorite plays from Mayfield. He takes the snap halfway into his own endzone. Ohio State is only sending four, but they send a stunt on the offense's left side. Mayfield recognizes that he has some space to move up, skitters his way up, sets his feet and delivers a throw that gets the offense out of trouble. There are so many quarterbacks that panic and throw the ball away or try to run the ball to keep it out of the endzone. This play is an excellent indication of Mayfield's awareness and composure.

That brings me to the next positive point with Mayfield, and that is his patience.
There are so many times where quarterbacks just throw the ball away in this situation just to play for another down and not take a loss. Instead of just standing still, he moves out of the pocket to give him some space, directs traffic and gets a positive play.

Now I must also point out that sometimes this can be a curse, as he does have a tendency to always look to make a play instead of throwing the ball away to avoid a loss. He took a lot of coverage sacks as he was always trying to make something happen, but it was often taking sacks instead of interceptions as he didn't force a ton of balls. I will say that he greatly benefited from having such an excellent offensive line as pressure usually took a while to get to him.

Another thing is that Oklahoma moved him outside of the pocket a lot. It's a smart strategy, but it does make me question how well he will handle being primarily in a pocket and possibly not having as dominant of an offensive line.

Another thing that may make people nervous is that he is full of frenetic energy, almost jittery when he is behind the line of scrimmage.

It looks a bit spastic, but this may also be what helps him with his footwork as he never gets stuck in one spot, and he can quickly set his feet and fire the ball as he looks for open receivers.

And Mayfield is a good athlete. He's not going to set the world on fire with his running ability, but he can utilize it to make plays.
That stiff arm isn't going to be in any instructional videos, but it got the damn thing done.

I've seen people question the arm strength, but I do not see it as an issue. It's not elite, but it's not a detriment to his success either. The good news about the arm is that he is by far the most accurate quarterback I have seen so far this year.

That's a thing of beauty. And just for fun, here's another great throw.

Summary
As you can probably tell from the evidence above, I really like Baker Mayfield. The only major prospect that I haven't checked out yet is Sam Darnold, but Darnold is going to have to be pretty damn amazing to knock Mayfield from my top spot. I would take him over both of the Joshes without hesitation.

Is height an issue? It is, but we have seen guys around his height succeed, and he shares a lot of qualities with guys like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson. My biggest concern is whether he can handle tighter concepts outside of a spread offense. But here's the thing: He shouldn't really have to. The best offenses are the ones that gear their schemes to the quarterback as he is the most important player on the team. If there are offenses designed to turn Jared Goff from the worst quarterback in the league to one of the best, Case Keenum reclamation, and Nick Foles winning a Super Bowl, I'm pretty sure it won't be mission impossible to design an offense where Baker Mayfield succeeds in the NFL.

Are there character concerns? I mean, sure, there is enough reason to be concerned, but I don't think any of this shit actually matters. He made a bad decision when intoxicated, grabbed his dick, and tried to plant a flag in astroturf. The last one is the most concerning as that just ain't gonna work, man. The other things just aren't a big deal. If I was a fan of a team that needed a quarterback (it is so weird to be a Bears fan and not be in this boat), I wouldn't hesitate putting Mayfield in charge of my franchise.

2018 Scouting Reports
Josh Rosen - Quarterback - UCLA
Josh Allen - Quarterback - Wyoming

Mason Rudolph - Quarterback - Oklahoma State

Lamar Jackson - Quarterback - Louisville

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