Draft Insiders’ – Rookie Spotlight – QB Baker Mayfield – Browns
by Frank Coyle
Each week Draft Insiders’ will do a Rookie spotlight and post their Scouting Report from our NFL Draft 2018 Yearbook. Scouting Reports are written from the fall into March annually.
Week 3 showcased two top QB picks, in the Browns’ Baker Mayfield and Jets’ Sam Darnold. Mayfield has sat through the first two weeks of his rookie NFL season. He came off the bench with starter Tyrod Taylor suffering a late first half concussion. Mayfield brought new energy and life to a lackluster and mistake prone offense. He had a dramatic and impressive pro debut which was instrumental in the Browns first victory since Dec. 24, 2016.
Mayfield has uncanny instincts with quick decision making and footwork that allows him to move and create situations and extend plays. He displayed rare composure in a pressure packed situation Thursday night with the desperate yet loyal Brown faithful screaming from the moment he entered the game. He directed an amazing second half comeback vs a tough Jet defense, throwing for 17 completions on 23 passes for 201 yards. He also caught a 2-point conversion similar to a few he performed at Oklahoma during his brilliant college career. He once again displayed the terrific accuracy that was his signature during his Sooner career along with his leadership to make other players better.
He was the #1 QB selected from a very deep class that saw four prospects chosen in the top ten and five in the first round overall. He was a rare Heisman Trophy winner and #1 overall selection in the same year. He has Browns fans buzzing after years of frustration especially at the QB leadership position. We compared him to Russell Wilson in talent, mobility and leadership which emerged dramatically over his Sooner career and postseason prior to the NFL Draft 2018.
Draft Insiders’ 2018 Yearbook – March/April 2018
Baker Mayfield #6 – Oklahoma – 6-1 , 215 – Sp. 4.80 Rating 92
Player Comparison: Russell Wilson
Slick senior gunslinger put up record setting numbers in the Sooners prolific passing attack which earned him the 2017 Heisman Trophy award. Transferred from Texas Tech in a class with QBs Patrick Mahomes and Davis Webb as an underclassman. Strong athletic frame with a god arm and quick release. Very good feet to setup, move in the pocket, slide to create new lanes or scramble to throw on the move or for a first down. Savvy athlete with a great sense of field presence and situations. Combines keen instincts with good athleticism to be both a leader and playmaker. Stepped up in big situations with big performances in the national playoffs as well as winning at Ohio St. Few clubs go into Columbus, Ohio and come away with a victory. Baker was instrumental in the Sooners’ win that marked them a national contender. Tight quick release with a natural throwing motion with the ability to release the ball from several positions with fine velocity and quickness. Played in the spread Sooner passing game putting up amazing numbers annually while showing the ability to throw the complete route tree. Shows the ability to drive the ball down the field and consistently fit into tight windows. Progresses very well as a pocket passer, though mainly operates in an offense with quick simple reads geared for the primary receiver. Gunslinger mentality with a cocky attitude that at times takes too much risk on plays. Savvy thrower can re-cock his arm quickly and deliver fast into new windows. Learning to be patient and look for other receivers and go through his progressions. Limited work from under center and faces a learning curve and needs to sit and adjust to the game. Needs to refine his setup and footwork under center and learn to go through his reads and adjustments to make the proper calls. Shows fine touch and accuracy on intermediate and vertical routes, though needs some refinement. Able to consistently place the ball with nice trajectory over the shoulder of his receivers to catch in full stride with nice accuracy to lead his receivers. Within the pocket, displays a crisp natural throwing motion to get the ball out fast. Able to really drive the ball when required and the ball can explode from his hand with good velocity on the outs and tight seam routes. Deceptive mobility to be effective on the move without losing his accuracy. Shows the toughness to sit in the pocket and take a hit to complete the pass.
The Numbers: Over the 2017 season, he started 14 games and completed 285 passes of 404 attempts for a 71% rate for 4267 yards with 43 TDs and 6 picks. Won Heisman Trophy, in addition to three time Big 12 Player of the Year honors, Manning award, O’Brien award and Maxwell award in 2017. Over his junior season, he threw for 3965 yards while completing 71% with 40 TDs and 8 picks in 13 starts. Over his career, he posted a 39-9 record including several bowl victories and impressive road wins at Ohio St. Threw for 12292 yards with 119 TDs and 21 interceptions and a 69.8% completion rate. Similar to NFL starter, Russell Wilson in size, AA, arm strength and LOD. At the NFL Combine, he came in at over 6’ and 218 lbs. with 30 1/4” arms and 9 1/4 hands. He ran a 4.84 time and added a 29” VL and a 9’4” BJ with a 4.28 shuttle and 7.00 three cone.
The Skinny: Highly productive QB with strong frame and rare arm to become a high-quality starter with some development. Needs improvement in his footwork to step up to play in a pro-style offense. He can throw the deep ball with accuracy, drive the ball down the field and make the tough intermediate throws and can fit the ball into tight windows when given time. Probable high 1st round and top pick. Top QB prospect with the skill set to win a starting job within a few seasons after learning a system. Needs further work on reading defenses and going through his progressions. Must prove up to the call of leadership to be successful in the NFL. Off the field problems must be addressed, though not criminal offenses. Rising top prospect.
Draft Projection: 1st Round