Senior Profiles: Baker Mayfield

(Brett Deering/Getty Images)

In preparation for FakePigskin’s 2018 Senior Bowl coverage, I will take an early look at prospects whom are projected to have a major role in the upcoming NFL draft.

Each prospect will be broken down by characteristics I use when evaluating players and how they should transition at the next level.

Name:       Baker Mayfield

Position:   Quarterback

School:      Oklahoma

Height:      6’1”

Weight:     209

Overview:

Mayfield started his college stint in 2013 as a walk-on with Texas Tech. He would only last one season as trouble arose between he and the coaching staff. His next stop would be Oklahoma as a walk-on once again. While the school made the announcement official, Mayfield would have to sit out the entire 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

He has since been a staple of the Sooner offense with successful campaigns in 2015 and 2016, culminating with being a Heisman Trophy finalist.

His 2017 season got off to a rough beginning as in February he was charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest and fleeing the scene; the last being thrown out. While Mayfield would be let off with only a fine, it is difficult to say how this could affect his upcoming draft stock.

His NFL comparisons have run the gamut; ranging from Chase Daniel, to Russell Wilson to Johnny Manziel and is currently being projected as a second day selection in the NFL draft. With young elite quarterbacks becoming the trend, Mayfield should be monitored carefully during the offseason.

Physical Attributes:

At 6’1”, Mayfield lacks prototypical quarterback height. This can be viewed as a problem as field vision from within the pocket may be compromised.

On the positive side, Mayfield consistently maintains a strong mental drive to succeed and a toughness that is constantly on full display. He has taken plenty of rough hits and gotten up each time. He will have to play smarter when giving his body up in the pro’s, but it’s safe to say he has moxie; what many refer to as the ‘it’ factor.

College System:

Mayfield has played his entire career from the shotgun. This has allowed him ample time to make the read then react if his receivers haven’t created separation. That said, playing exclusively in the spread offense has become less of an issue when scouting quarterbacks as players like Dak Prescott have adjusted to working from behind center in an extremely short time frame.

Arm strength:

Mayfield displays good ‘zip’ on most throws and has above average arm strength which is necessary to become a pro quarterback. He excels in the short and intermediate passing game while delivering a nice touch with proper velocity on the deep ball which will keep NFL secondary’s guessing.

Even while on the run, Mayfield has shown to have enough arm strength to fit balls into tight windows with pinpoint accuracy.

Accuracy:

During his time at Oklahoma, Mayfield has completed 672 out of 955 passes (70.4 percent) for 10,012 yards; a school best. This season, to date, he has completed 149 of 202 (73.8 percent) for 2,346 yards.

He also leads Oklahoma in touchdown to interception ratio 95 to 17 and yards per completion at 11.7.

Yet another appealing statistic shows his efficiency rating increasing each year. Per SportReference.com, Mayfield has the two highest pass efficiency ratings since 1956 (minimum 14 pass attempts per school game) with a 196.39 rating in 2016 and a 200.42 rating this season.

While statistics have their place, Mayfield also passes the ‘eye test’. Not only does he throw accurately while on the run but when given ample time will stay in the pocket, survey the field and deliver the deep throw just ahead of the receiver allowing him to make a successful catch.

via soonersports.com

via soonersports.com

Mobility:

This is one of Mayfield’s greatest assets as he will read his progressions while the pocket holds before rolling out and connecting downfield. Running the read option will add yet another dimension that will attract NFL scouts.

Statistically, Mayfield is stated as having averaged only 2.7 yards per carry. Keep in mind that this statistic includes sacked yardage which the NFL does not incorporate. Theoretically, two more yards per carry could be added if projecting what his numbers may be like in the pro’s.

Game Management:

Mayfield is adept at reading both zone and man-to-man defenses while being able to recognize and check the play at the line of scrimmage.

While in the pocket, his footwork is quick and fluid. He rarely drops his eyes; keeping them downfield. After his protection has expired, he will break from the pocket and deliver the throw or run for daylight.

When given ample protection, he will read through his progressions. As the pocket collapses Mayfield will instinctively step forward, find available space, plant his foot and deliver a strike.

Once area of concern is he can be irresponsible from time to time with his decision making when he throws to receivers who are covered tightly.

Final Thoughts

While many pundits are currently predicting Baker Mayfield to be selected on the second day of the NFL draft, it wouldn’t surprise me if he escalated up the board as we move through the off-season, the Senior Bowl and lastly the NFL Combine on his way to a day-one selection.

As for a landing spot, depending on their current quarterback situations, Mayfield would be a nice fit in a Jay Gruden offense. Mayfield’s read option, off schedule style would be a nice compliment to the current personnel and his West Coast offense. He would also be a nice fit in San Francisco with Kyle Shanahan or New Orleans under Sean Payton.

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