Weight: 220 pounds
School: Oklahoma Sooners
Baker Mayfield 2018 NFL Draft Profile
Coming out of high school, Baker Mayfield was far from the most in-demand quarterback in the nation. With most teams skeptical of his ability to make an impact due to his size, he received just one Power Five scholarship offer from Washington State. So the Austin, TX native decided to stay in-state, walking on at Texas Tech. It initially seemed to be a good decision. He started seven games and earned Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors on a Red Raiders team that finished 8-5.
But head coach Kliff Kingsbury remained noncommital on Mayfield’s future as the starter. As a result, he transferred to Oklahoma and sat out the 2014 season. Over his next three years in Norman, Mayfield gradually emerged as one of the country’s top passers and set a new standard for efficiency. That becomes glaringly apparent considering his pass efficiency ratings as a junior (196.38) and a senior (198.92) are the two best marks in college football history.
But prior to those campaigns, Mayfield had already made his presence known. He finished the 2015 season, his first as Sooners’ starter, having thrown for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. For his efforts, he took home Sporting News Player of the Year as well as the Burlsworth Trophy, given to the best player in college football who began his career as a walk-on. He also made first-team all-conference and won the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.
Mayfield finished no worse than fourth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy during his three seasons with the Sooners. In 2016, only eventual winner Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson garnered more votes than he did. A year later, he won it all in runaway fashion, with his 732 first-place votes the fifth most in the history of the award. And though it ended in a loss, Mayfield capped his collegiate career with an appearance in the Rose Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff semifinals.
- fierce and intense competitor who commands the respect of teammates;
- quick release with ideal mechanics;
- makes tight, clean throws on the run;
- wide spectrum of passes at his disposal, from deep post lasers to back shoulder floaters;
- deep ball accuracy induces panic grabs out of boundary corners;
- comfortable operating in an offense that incorporates run-pass options;
- can move zone safeties and linebackers dropping into coverage out of position with his eyes;
- able to extend plays with his feet when things break down in the pocket;
- possesses the football I.Q. to grasp an NFL playbook;
- among the most experienced players at the position in this year’s draft class;
- completed 69.8 percent of his passes in 40 starts as Oklahoma quarterback.
- doesn’t fit the height profile of a prototypical quarterback at the next level;
- despite aforementioned accuracy, deep ball passes tend to sail;
- needs to improve overall footwork;
- too overly static in the pocket – needs to climb and evade;
- tries to do too much instead of throwing the ball away;
- has to prove he can transition to more pro-style concepts;
- competitive edge can sometimes spill over into emotional outbursts and hot-headedness;
- off-the-field red flag in the form of an alcohol-related arrest.
NFL Comparison: Case Keenum
Projection: First round
There’s much to like about Mayfield. He’s a competitor and has that extroverted, type-A personality necessary to be the leader in the huddle. But it goes further than intangibles. He showcased plus arm strength at Oklahoma as well as the ability to spread the ball around the field with a wide range of throws.
But there are a few concerns. Mayfield is undersized and a product of a spread scheme that sometimes doesn’t translate to the next level. And there’s also that dash cam footage of him being tackled by a police officer that may have some teams concerned he’s another Johnny Manziel. It’s something he’ll undoubtedly field questions about during the interview process at the Combine.
In the final analysis, Mayfield’s floor is lower than some of the other prominent quarterback prospects this year. But if he can find the right scheme fit and coaches willing to tailor the offense to his skill set, he has the capability of succeeding at the next level. It’s that potential that has him firmly on the radar on teams in need of a game-changer at quarterback.