University of Oklahoma
6’1” 210 pounds
- 71%, 4,340 yards, 41 touchdowns, 5 interceptions
- 97 carries, 311 yards, 5 touchdowns, 3 fumbles
- Rose Bowl vs Georgia
- 23/35; 287 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
- Vs Ohio State
- 27/55, 386 yards, 3 touchdowns
- Must watch game: OKS Shootout vs Mason Rudolph
- 24/36, 598 yards, 5 touchdowns, 2 interception
Baker Mayfield, at last, we meet. So you’re the new Johnny Manziel, huh? People are saying you’re the new arrogant but talented prospect that could ultimately make a huge impact on a team or flame out at a party. It doesn’t get any more love-hate than this guy. People either love him and think he may be one of the top QB in the draft or a huge bust and…well, after reviewing hours of film, that’s just a lazy comparison by those so-called “professional journalists.”
Mayfield probably has one of the biggest personalities coming out of college this year and will be put under the microscope by GMs and fans…and for good reason. This guy has the most interesting story I have ever stumbled upon in quite a while. Even the Sooners’ Coach Bob Stoops said that Mayfield’s journey to Oklahoma ”maybe the strangest thing that’s happened” in his entire coaching career.
I am typically really cautious when I hear of a college prospect, a QB no less, having a reputation of having issues on and off the field for reasons other than his raw ability to play the sport. After putting him under a microscope myself, I found myself surprised.
Baker Mayfield won a state championship for high school but was lightly recruited. Now you’re probably thinking “but /u/DerriusGuice a lot of high school QBs win state championships every year and may not get recruited heavily!” You’re right, but the state he won the championship was in Texas. Their Friday Night games rival college game day at a lot of colleges like Tulsa. Seriously, who goes to a Golden Hurricane game? I probably just pissed off the three Tulsa fans that may have actually stumbled onto this article. Sorry guys.
Mayfield got a few offers from small schools such as a scholarship to Florida Atlantic, but ultimately turned them all down to take a chance on himself to walk on to Texas Tech’s roster. He won the starting job during preseason camp as a true freshman and started 5 games before he was injured; he even played well enough to be named the Big 12’s offensive freshman of the year. He was disappointed because he was not immediately put back into the lineup when he was healthy and that’s when Davis Webb won the starting job to start the Holiday Bowl. Texas Tech then informed him that he wouldn’t have a scholarship available for the spring semester.
So what does this kid do? He transfers to an even bigger school and then wins that job. As another walk on. To a team that went to the Sugar Bowl. Talk about a competitor. Seriously, just think about that for a second. A guy wins the state championship and gets lightly recruited due to his size and gets a few offers, rejects them all and walks on and wins the starting job at Texas Tech, gets disrespected and transfers to Oklahoma and walks on to win the starting job again and eventually becomes a Heisman winner.
I typically don’t go over someone’s past history but I thought it would give an insight of the path Mayfield had to take to get to where he currently stands. Enough of that, let’s continue with the breakdown.
One thing that I immediately noticed was how Mayfield’s completion percentage, yards, yards per attempt, touchdowns, and rating have all increased since he started playing in 2013 at Texas Tech. This obviously shows that he is gradually getting better as a player, but it also shows that he is coachable and we have yet to see his true potential. I think this is one reason many people think he could possibly be one of the top prospects regardless of his weaknesses that I will touch upon later.
Like Sam Darnold who I covered before this, Baker Mayfield has an aggressive mindset. He is never afraid to pull the trigger down the field and is always looking for the home run play. He will check it down when needed but his eyes always start looking deep which could be refreshing for some fans who are getting tired of watching guys like Tyrod Taylor.
The first thing that jumps off the film with Mayfield is his escapability and improvisation. His ability to keep a play alive that has no business of gaining positive yardage is mindboggling. There are countless highlight plays where he makes something out of nothing and this is why I believe that everyone compares him to Johnny Football.
(Once again, I made GIFs for all of you because I love you so much.)
The running back does a great job picking up the linebacker who is blitzing here, but the pocket immediately starts to collapse and Mayfield uses his magic to not only keep the play alive but to throw a great pass for a five-yard gain under intense duress.
Mayfield is more athletic than some people may credit him for. Although he’s not the fastest, his mobility can definitely be a headache for defenses as he often wiggles out of trouble and can take off for a first down. He is not a sprinter but can’t be ignored as a runner.
Something else I immediately picked up on was Mayfield’s accuracy. Obviously, his completion percentage of 71% is impressive, but it could have been a bunch of dump-offs; that is not the case with Baker Mayfield. He loves to throw the ball down the field and stretch out a defense. His ball placement is incredible as a college QB is impressive.
This play perfectly encapsulates Baker Mayfield as a player. It is a designed roll out to the right to get Mayfield moving but he immediately changes gear to evade defenders and throws for an incompletion. At first, this may just seem like a broken play, but if you break down his game awareness to step up and slide back to the right and see the ball placement, it is honestly one of my favorite plays by him this year.
Just look at the ball placement here. I’m not here to debate if there was PI on this play or not because let’s be real, half of us don’t even know what a catch is, but Mayfield puts the ball only where his receiver can get it. He threw to his tight end Mark Andrews who is a great pass catcher but I believe if he tossed it up to a receiver, they could have tracked the ball better and made a play. Even though Andrews couldn’t come down with it, he was still able to draw a penalty with a play that could have ended in disaster if it wasn’t for Mayfield’s ability to be a playmaker.
One thing that separates Baker Mayfield from Johnny Manziel is how he is always looking to throw before taking off. He could have easily ran and gained a few free yards, or even scored a touchdown, but he decides to step up and deliver the ball at a different angle to his RB. Mayfield is undeniably a threat to run, but it looks like he only does when it is his last resort.
Mayfield does a good job of being able to utilize the pump fake into this repertoire. Although pump faking seems like a minimal skill, using it effectively moves the defense to be able to open up bigger windows. Also, a good pump fake requires large hands and there are a lot of scouts and GMs who get their jollies off knowing that their players have huge hands.
Here is just a quick example of Mayfield with a great pump. It freezes the slot corner to run for the receiver on the flat which opens up the zone in which he gets a receiver wide open.
Like I stated before, Mayfield has great accuracy and precision on his passes. He is able to throw to the open area of the field instead of directly at his receiver that you rarely see in young QBs.
This is play against Texas Tech where he pumps and then delivers another perfect pass for a touchdown. He utilizes a small pump fake again but the most impressive thing about this throw is the placement.
Here is another angle which breaks down why the ball placement was perfect on this throw. The safety on this play slides to the right to cover the underneath receiver, then Mayfield rips a perfect pass high and inside where only his receiver could make the grab.
Some people like to question Mayfield’s arm strength but I believe they aren’t completely warranted. Although he doesn’t have a rocket arm or the strength of Sam Darnold, he can make all the throws and put enough zip to get it into tight windows. Not everyone is born with the beautiful arm talent of Raiders’ legend, JaMarcus Russell.
Although the receiver is wide open here, that’s not what I’m looking at. I’m looking at how he is able to hit his receiver, perfectly in stride, deep down the field. He puts enough air and touch on the pass so the receiver can easily haul it in.
This is another play where he launches a ball down the field for a touchdown. Although he does not hit his receiver in stride, he is able to put enough on it to get it over the defender. There are probably a handful of QBs in the league right now that wouldn’t be able to make this throw.
This is another angle where you can see him stepping into the throw and delivering a huge throw for a touchdown. Could the throw have been a bit better? Absolutely. But that does not take away from the fact that he was able to hurl that ball for 55 yards over a defender. Don’t get nitpicky now, I’m sure half of you reading this would love it if your QB could make this.
Mayfield also gets the ball out of his hands very quickly and doesn’t take any extra time when getting rid of it; this serves him well when he is under pressure. I’m not saying that he can release it as fast as Jimmy GQ, but it’s not too far behind. He also proved himself as a big-time performer when he was able to defeat Ohio State and had a good showing at the Rose Bowl which ultimately led to a loss. Once again, not as clutch as New York Jets’ legend Tim Tebow, but he’s getting there.
There is always one knock that comes up constantly when discussing Baker Mayfield: His size. Although he is listed at 6’1” and 210 pounds, I wouldn’t be surprised if he measured up at the combine at 6’0” and 205 pounds. This will be a huge topic of discussion because some teams have a size threshold (around 6’2”) and simply won’t even consider smaller guys. I would honestly give up my first born to be 6’1″ but it’s that gray area where he’s just tall enough to make a bunch of girls on Tinder happy, but too short to make a GM blush.
Although it isn’t too fair to knock a guy for being shorter than the norm, it is a valid concern. There have been a few recent QBs that have been under the 6’2” benchmark and found success such as Drew Brees (6’) and Russell Wilson (5’11”) but they have been the exception, not the rule. Other notable QBs that have been short were Doug Flutie (5’10”) and Frank Tarkenton (6’0”).
With offensive linemen averaging around 6’5”, it’s easy to see why it’s harder for shorter QBs to find consistency in the NFL.
Now that we tackled that issue, there are some others I wanted to address. I stated that one of Mayfield’s strengths was that he was aggressive. Like I discussed with Darnold, aggression could be a double-edged sword. Mayfield could get reckless at times with decision-making and will throw into tight coverage, trusting his arm and teammate. He has gotten better at knowing when to move off the deeper routes and check it down, but there are still times when he takes some unnecessary shots.
This is a perfect example of an unnecessary shot. You see Mayfield double clutch as if he is second-guessing himself, but he takes the shot anyway. He throws the ball too late and is unable to get to his receiver and it almost gets picked off. In the NFL, Patrick Peterson would cream himself for this opportunity. It’s reassuring to know that he second-guessed before he took the chance, but it is also a negative because he tried anyway.
This concern is going to be a very tough one for a coach to address. They won’t want to tame his attacking mentality in fear that they will turn him too conservative but ensure he continues to improve his decision-making when to take shots down the field. He is definitely getting better at checking it down when he has to so it’s just something that coaches will have to help him with further down the line.
Although Mayfield does a great job moving defenders with pumps and looking off safeties, he has a slight tendency on staring down certain routes. This is not a regularly occurring problem for him, but something that will improve once he gets an NFL coach. We’ve seen him manipulate safeties when taking shots down the field, but he occasionally locks on his primary read which ultimately leads defenders to it. He needs to learn to go through his progressions quicker which I’m sure he will be able to do.
He tries to hit the post route by his slot receiver here on this play. He appears to stare it down the whole way and the linebackers undercut the pass for the critical, game-changing interception. Once again, this is not something he does often since he only threw five picks the whole year, but something that he could work on since linebackers in the NFL are much more athletic and smarter.
I have heard a lot of people complain about Mayfield’s footwork but I am currently on the fence about that. He has very short, choppy steps which is something you want your QB to do in order to be able to set your feet quickly if the pocket begins to change, but there are definitely times where he gets “happy feet.”
While I know Mayfield doesn’t throw the ball on this play, it’s a perfect look into his feet. I may have Rex Ryan’s attention if he’s reading this. He is on his toes and he fluidly begins to move around until he begins to overdo it. Luckily, he is able to have enough awareness in the pocket to slide to the right and pick up a few yards on a scramble.
I would honestly prefer a QB coming out of college to have overly active feet rather than being a statue (looking at you Tom Savage). It’s much easier to teach a QB to tone down his foot movement to become more efficient than teaching them to move them to begin with. Even though I tend to side with his choppy footwork, I do believe he will need to tone it down to become more efficient so he is not all over the place in the pros.
He also has a bit of a wind-up with his throwing motion but it is nowhere near as bad as Sam Darnold’s. The reason why Mayfield’s throwing motion isn’t discussed too much right now is because of how fast he gets the ball out of his hands. I’m confident that he will be able to sure up his wind-up a bit to make his release even faster when he gets to the league.
I discussed that Mayfield could make a lot of throws but he tends to underthrow the deep route. He does not have the elite arm strength that some teams want, but he still has an above average arm.
The receiver here could have had half a step on his defender but Mayfield waits too long to throw this. He ultimately underthrows this ball and luckily ends as an incomplete. Once again, if this was in the NFL, Patrick Peterson would be heading to the locker room for a second pair of pants. If he threw the ball with a bit more anticipation, he could have put his receiver in better position to make a play. He will have to work on his timing to be able to get the ball on target to his receivers going deep.
Another big concern for Mayfield is the system he played in college; he almost exclusively played in the shotgun and pistol formation. Some of the reasoning behind this could be because of his height, but it was also because Oklahoma liked to run the spread and scheme up ways to get receivers wide open. It will be a substantial adjustment for him when he is asked to take snaps from under center but this isn’t something that has not been before. Here are some QBs that played in the spread and primarily took plays from shotgun: Alex Smith, Big Ben, Phillip Rivers, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill, and maybe even some more. I thought I delivered my point so I stopped researching. So the point here is that it is very possible for a QB to transition to an NFL pro-style offense, but it is a valid concern to have.
So I guess I’ve avoided the elephant in the room up until this point. Baker Mayfield has some concerns on and off the field due to his personality and antics. He was arrested in February 2017 and was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and fleeing and resisting arrest. He plead guilty to the charges and reached a plea deal. While I’m not going to try and turn this political and say that he was in the wrong or whatnot but there are definitely some concerns for many teams about his antics. But seriously, if I can stay arrest-free as a guy who depends on alcohol to get through his low-paying job, so can you Baker.
I will, however, dive a bit deeper into another situation that occurred during the Kansas game. Baker Mayfield was seen yelling at the opponent’s sideline and grabbing his crotch. Although Marshawn Lynch would be proud, the rest of the world was not.
A lot of this was actually started by the Kansas team when they refused to shake his hand at the coin toss. While I know this is a childish reason to grab your wee-wee during a televised game, there may be a little bit more to the story. It was clear from the start that Kansas did not respect Mayfield, but things got a bit more evident during the game.
There was a blatant cheap shot took towards Mayfield at the end of the second half which obviously drew a penalty. I can guarantee that there was trash talking before and after that hit so it’s easy to see why Mayfield was becoming so animated towards the end of the game. I, by no means, am condoning his actions, but I wanted to explain a bit more of what happened before everyone begins to point their finger. If I was him, I should just be yelling “scoreboard” but to each their own.
As a leader of a team, you never want to lose composure but it’s easy to get wrapped up in the heat of the moment. At the end of the day, he is still a college kid, but that is no excuse for the way he behaved. I know this portion of the breakdown will cause a lot of controversy (which is why I saved it until this late) but it is something that definitely had to be brought up when discussing Baker Mayfield. Once again, I am not condoning ANY of his actions because it is unnecessary and bad for the game, but wanted to shine a light on everything that occurred.
One last thing I wanted to share is that Mayfield is beloved by his teammates. It may be because of the constant chip on his shoulder because he had to walk on and win a starting job twice, or his toughness when he gets back up, big hit after big hit; teammates rally to that kind of stuff. It means a lot to know that although his public perception may not be as clean as other prospects, his teammates always go to bat for him.
Wow could you imagine if I was dense enough to make this comparison even after I stated how he was not like Johnny Manziel? Honestly, the comparison stops after the escapability and making plays out of the pocket. Admittedly, Johnny was much better at making something out of nothing, but Mayfield is head and shoulders better throwing the ball. Now, for the real comparison.
This may confuse a lot of people but it honestly took me by surprise as well. I know many of you saw his name pop up a lot when I listed QBs under the benchmark height and playing in the spread, but there is more than meets the eye. A lot of people see current-day Drew Brees; a surefire Hall of Famer and someone who throws for 4,000 yards as often as me reaching for “my last” cheese ball, but he mirrors Mayfield coming out Purdue.
Let me break down Brees’ player profile coming out into the draft:
- Touch passer with ability to read defense and move them if needed
- Confident leader who knows how to take command in the huddle
- Very tough and mobile moving around in the pocket
- Has quick setup and very effective throwing on the move
- Throws across his body with great consistency
- Hits receivers in stride and improvises his throws in order to make a completion
- Puts good zip behind the short and mid-range passes
- Superb pocket presence and uses all of his offensive weapons in order to move the chains
- Elusive scrambler with ability to avoid the rush
- Plays in spread offense, taking a bulk of his snaps from shotgun
- Lacks accuracy and touch on his long throws. Tends to side-arm his passes going deep
- Seems more comfortable in the short/intermediate passing attack
- Does not possess the ideal height you look for
- Will improvise and run when the passing lanes are clogged but tends to run through defenders rather than trying to avoid them to prevent unnecessary punishment
His breakdown is almost indistinguishable to Baker Mayfield’s. A lot of people forget that Drew Brees was pretty elusive in college. Most people just view Brees as the near 40 year old he is today that rarely ever gets mobile, but coming out of college, Drew Brees matched Baker Mayfield to a T. The main difference is that Brees was not a moron in college.
I can see it now. “/u/DerriusGuice has no idea what he is talking about! He just said that Mayfield is going to be just as good as Drew Brees!” No. Stop it. I’m saying that he eerily matches how Drew Brees was viewed coming out of Purdue and it’s just a coincidence that he is also viewed as a short QB. Another comparison I hear a lot of Russell Wilson but I view that as a lazy comparison as well because they are just trying to compare another short QB who can make plays with his feet to another. When it comes to playstyle, they are very different.
You love him or you hate him. I’m sure you still hold the same opinion of Mayfield before you read through my breakdown, and that’s fine. I completely understand why people are so split on this kid. One thing I wanted to abolish is that he is not Johnny Manziel 2.0. Yes, he has had his run-in with trouble and is immature, but he is far more talented and believe his skill set will better translate into the NFL. Although his height is a concern for myself as well, I believe he has all the skills in his arsenal to be able to be successful.
- An above-average athlete for the QB position and can pick up yards with his feet when he as to
- Very accurate and has great ball placement. Great touch on the ball as well
- Excellent improvisation and able to make something out of nothing
- Aggressive mindset
- Gets the ball quickly and decisively
- Very tough; won’t let the team down and will fight to the end
- Chip-on-the-shoulder mentality; he will always play like he has something to prove due to his journey to the NFL
- Less than ideal size
- Doesn’t have elite arm strength
- Aggressive play-style leads to bad decisions and unnecessary shots
- His footwork can be all over the place; his natural throwing motion was able to compensate for this flaw but may be magnified in the pros if not fixed
- Played primarily in the shotgun
Likely Landing Spot
- Jets, Cardinals, Broncos, Redskins, Bills
By: Thomas Yu AKA: /u/DerriusGuice
I am not a professional or write full-time. I do this as a hobby and do not make any money off of views or anything. I do this for pure enjoyment and in hopes of giving an insight to those who may not follow college football closely. Please do not take my word as facts as they are my own opinion that I have gathered through my own research and study. Feel free to disagree with anything as I would love to hear your feedback.