Now that we are into the month of November, I thought it was a good time to start writing up some of the better prospects for the next spring’s NFL Draft.
Since I already profiled a number of players at various positions during the summer, I will start with players that I didn’t earlier write up. My hope is to continue doing this for the next few months as a preview to our Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide — which will be available in March. First up will be Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield is a fifth-year senior and a four-year starter. He began his career at Texas Tech in 2013 as a walk-on, yet still started seven games, put up amazing numbers and was named a freshman All American. For that year, he completed 218-of-340 throws for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns.
When that body of work wasn’t going to guarantee him the starting job nor earn him a football scholarship, he transferred to Oklahoma and sat out the 2014 season, per transfer rules.
In 2015, Baker became the starter at Oklahoma and has held that position for the past three seasons. The results have been nothing short of amazing!
Since transferring to Oklahoma, Mayfield has completed 70 percent of his 1,025 throws and has passed for 104 touchdowns. He has only been intercepted 20 times over that span. What’s more important is that he has not missed a game because of injury, and has won a total of 30 games while losing only five. That is production!
Mayfield is well built and very strong for a quarterback but he lacks ideal height. He is listed as being 6’1 but will probably measure a bit shorter at the Combine. His arm length isn’t ideal, but for a quarterback that isn’t as important as it is at other positions.
At Oklahoma, Mayfield plays in a spread offense but it is a full-field read spread and he has to go through a full progression. Baker is patient and has excellent vision. He easily can go through the progression and find the open receiver. What NFL people really like about his physical traits is his release. He has a compact overhand release, and when he finds his target, the ball is out of his hand very quickly. He may have the quickest release in all of college football.
The other physical traits that are well liked are his quickness and his arm strength. Mayfield may only run in the 4.7s but he has very quick feet and an excellent feel for pass rushers. He can maneuver in the pocket and can extend make plays with his feet. His arm strength is good-to- very good and he throws a tight ball.
Mayfield is an excellent decision-maker and we seldom see him force throws. His accuracy and ball placement are very good, and that is one of the reasons he throws so few interceptions — he almost never forces a throw.
Quarterbacks have to be leaders, and on the field Mayfield is in total control. He can run a fast-paced offense, or slow it down, and has command at the line of scrimmage. He can read defenses and is able to change plays and/or protections.
Being that he is a fifth-year senior and a four-year starter, he has as much or more experience as any quarterback in the Draft. That won’t go unnoticed when clubs put their final grade on him.
There is a lot to like and really very little not to like. The most glaring weakness is his height. While that may be a concern for some clubs, it won’t be a concern for all.
At this time I would venture to say that if it wasn’t for Mayfield’s lack of ideal height, he would easily be the first quarterback drafted next spring. Because of his height, he may go a little lower, but again I emphasize it would not be a deal breaker for all clubs.
Mayfield's intangibles are excellent. He is a hard worker, a leader and has an outstanding work ethic. There is no reason he can’t be a winning starter at the next level. Whichever club drafts him is going to be very happy they made that decision.