Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
After a rough few years, going with Stephen Hill in 2012, pounding the table for Dee Milliner in 2013, and the 2nd worst rated pick in community draft history with Jalen Collins in 2015 (don’t draft drunk kids), I learned from my mistakes and decided to stick to the BPA format and had success with Jalen Ramsey in 2016, and Jamal Adams in 2017, following this formula Bradly Chubb is clearly the favorite pick here as he is easily the top rated player on the board, and paring him with Von Miller would give the Broncos one of the best 1-2 pass rush combos in the league.
But in the immortal words of Lee Corso “Not so Fast!.” With the signing of Case Keenum in free agency the Broncos saved themselves from needing to come away with a QB and have flexibility. When the draft started I had 7 players in consideration for this pick, Nelson or Saquon will be really tempting if available come draft day as they fill arguably the two biggest needs for the Broncos but luckily for me they are already gone, and while Bradly Chubb is talented I think he is not a generational type of player that will make you regret passing on him. Ultimately this pick comes down to Mayfield versus Josh Allen, and while Josh Allen may have that big arm the NFL GMs crave, I can’t justify a player with his inconsistencies inside the Top-5, as his mental makeup truly worries me. Baker Mayfield has the tools, and attitude needed to be a game changing QB in the NFL, and while he may be short in stature he rises to the occasion better than any QB in this draft.
State of the Roster
Currently the Denver Broncos have three QBs on their roster. Paxton Lynch whose current job is to collect pay checks and pray he doesn’t actually have to go into the game, Chad “$wag” Kelly: the token 3rd string QB that the fan base thinks could be a HoF QB if given the chance but who in actuality sucks and his only claim to fame is getting Twitter shamed by Mia Khalifa twice. And then there is their shiny new toy in Case Keenum who is at best a 2015-2016 Payton Manning and at worst a 2012-2016 Case Keenum. The question the Broncos need to answer is “Do you think Case Keenum is a long term answer?” Unfortunately for him, I believe I don’t see Case Keenum as a man you can expect to carry you to a Super Bowl. All you have to do is go back to January when the entire Eagles fan base was rooting for the Vikings against the Saints. Even though, the Vikings were a better team than the Saints across the board (save QB), there was not a single person in Philly who looked at Keenum and was concerned about him beating our defense. Meanwhile we were having flashbacks of 2014 and terrified about facing Drew Brees. No one will ever be afraid of Case Keenum, and if you have the opportunity to get a QB that will keep teams up at night you take it. The Broncos themselves recognize this about Keenum which is why he was only signed to a 2-year deal where he can be cut next season and save $11 million in cap space, much like the Philadelphia Eagles did with Bradford in 2016 they secured their short term, while leaving them maneuverability to be more successful in the future.
Coming out of Austin, Texas, Baker Mayfield was a three-star recruit with only three scholarship offers (FAU, New Mexico , and Rice) he elected to walk on at Texas Tech where he became (as far as anyone can tell) the first walk-on in FBS history to start the season opener as a true freshman. Baker went 5-0 before getting injured and replaced by Davis Webb (2017 3rd Round Pick). After not being offered a scholarship by Texas Tech that Spring, Mayfield decided to transfer to Oklahoma as a walk-on and after sitting out for a year, has started every game for Oklahoma since amassing 12,292 Passing Yards (10.6 Y/A) with a 69.8% Completion rate, 119 TDs 21 INTs and an absurd along with 893 Yards rushing, and 18 TDs on the ground the 2017 Heisman Trophy, and 1 misdemeanor for disorderly conduct, public intoxication, and fleeing and resisting arrest after trying to stop a bar fight.
Looking at Pro Football Focus (cue collective groan about how PFF sucks) Baker Mayfield as had three of the top 6 highest rated QB seasons since 2014, as well as having the highest passer rating while under pressure every year at OU. Baker has routinely faced critics telling him he isn’t talented enough for the next level, and every time he has proved those doubters wrong. In fact Mayfield has even admitted to making use of his negative press as motivation to be better, and I have the feeling that being the 3rd QB taken will ride under his skin for as long as he plays. While his fiery attitude may rub some people the wrong way, I love a QB that will spend every minute with a chip on his shoulder.
The first thing that comes up when discussing Baker Mayfield’s potential is his height. At the Combine Baker Mayfield measure just under 6’1”, and his lack of stature is one of his two biggest flags. I am personally in the camp that height for a QB is an overrated issue, and, more importantly, is something Baker Mayfield has plenty of experience with at Oklahoma. In 2017 OU’s OL averaged 6’4” just an inch off the NFL average, and include the massive Orlando “Can people please for the love of god stop mock drafting him to the Eagles” Brown, and posted one of the greatest passing seasons in recent College Football History. The other reason why I am not as concerned with height is the presence of Case Keenum on the roster. Keenum is approximately the same height as Baker at 6’1”, and has had 5 seasons experience to help teach Mayfield how to move around the NFL pocket as a short QB.
With the exception of his size Baker Mayfield is an above average athlete for the position, but has shown a knack for escaping the pocket and making plays on the run. In fact one of Mayfield’s biggest strengths is his ability to throw on the run and his accuracy in general. The second biggest critic of Mayfield is that he comes from an Air Raid (Spread) Offense and guys were often times wide open, which inflates his stats. While this is a fair worry when you look at the tape you can see Mayfield excels at hitting receivers in the right spot to allow them to make a play with the ball in their hands. And while he won’t blow you away with his arm, he has more than enough strength to make the throws required of an NFL QB. Baker also possess a quick release and played in a system that required full field reads and showed great patience going through his reads and making good throwing decisions. At OU he ranked 8th in CFB in number of “NFL” throws attempted, and finished with the highest passer rating on such throws.
One of the most important aspects of a QB is his leadership and work ethic. The QB is the de facto leader of an NFL team and sets the tone from Top to Bottom, we see this with the Eagles and Carson Wentz, not only does he give everything he has to be the best player he can be, he also cares about his teammates and inspires them to be better not just on the field but in life as well. While many people have the negative interpretation of Baker Mayfield due to his on the field antics (Crouch grabbing against Kansas, Planting the OU flag at Ohio State, acting like a cocky little shit), his reputation inside the locker room is exactly the opposite. I’m not calling him Wentz because he’s not, but just about every interview I have come across has had players and coaches praising his leadership and work ethic. Even at the Senior Bowl, when WRs were asked which QB they preferred working and almost everyone mentioned Baker because of his command and presence in the huddle and effort on the field.
A great example of Mayfield’s respect is the article written this past season by Jaguars WR DeDe Westbrook who played two years with Baker at Oklahoma you can just feel the respect he has for Mayfield. People don’t go that far out of their way to praise someone unless they really mean it. And from all reports coming out of NFL teams after there meetings with Baker Mayfield it seems like every team he meets with is walking away impressed with his football IQ and overall presence and attitude.
The biggest negative against Baker that has to do with his actual ability, is his footwork and presence in the pocket. Baker has a tendency to slide to the outside of a pocket, making it difficult for his OL to protect him or will break early from a pocket when he has a clean base to throw from. He will also have a tendency to not set his feet when he throws, this is especially notable on his deeper passes as he would usually have one or two passes a game that would lame duck in the air, however more often than not even with bad footwork Baker had more than enough juice on his passes to make difficult throws look easy. These are common issues with young QBs and are both coachable and something that Baker Mayfield can improve on very quickly, especially working with mentor like Case Keenum. Mayfield strikes me as the type of QB that if it doesn’t fix these issues is still talented enough to be an average starter, but with good coaching his ceiling is in that top 5-10 QB in the NFL.
That being said he did get laid out by a cop.
The Broncos are in a position where they can afford to go BPA, and try surrounding Case Keenum with talented support pieces, however if they want to avoid the purgatory that comes with average QB play they need to draft a QB who can make a difference. Baker Mayfield has all the tools that are needed to succeed in the NFL, and has shown the work ethic and dedication that is required to succeed at the NFL level as well. I expect it to take time for Baker Mayfield to be ready for the NFL, but when he is he is going to light it up. The Broncos are the perfect place for him to sit and develop for a year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being the best QB a few years down the road. Then again knowing him, that time might come a lot sooner then we all expect.
Do you approve of this pick?
This poll is closed
2018 BGN Community Mock Draft Order
1) Browns (GMinTraining): Saquon Barkley
2) Giants (ablesser88): Quenton Nelson
3) Jets (20Safety_Hazards): Sam Darnold
4) Browns (MJ1893): Josh Rosen
5) Broncos (drc242): Baker Mayfield
6) Colts (I Need a Username):
7) Buccaneers (dunc123):
8) Bears (NVEagleShark):
9) 49ers (Doug Pederson’s Pair of Balls):
10) Raiders (Milehighbirds):
11) Dolphins (danishdynamite_):
12) Bills (LAOJoe)
13) Washington (Eagle1987):
14) Packers (89Tremaine):
15) Cardinals (TJ “Ben Simmons” Mcconnell):
16) Ravens (PhillyEagles2011):
17) Chargers (LBCeaglesFan!):
18) Seahawks (KEZHOG):
19) Cowboys (Brawnybalboa):
20) Lions (dshelton5):
21) Bengals (Palaniappan K M):
22) Bills (BeamerWentzorBentley):
23) Patriots (jy1187):
24) Panthers (dceagles):
25) Titans (ei78):
26) Falcons (SakPrescott):
27) Saints (MidMajorMatt):
28) Steelers (SummersInVA):
29) Jaguars (RecarTabmok):
30) Vikings (AnthroEagle):
31) Patriots (PhilaWolverine):
32) Eagles (JALupowitz):
Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think the Broncos should pick in the 2018 BGN Consensus Mock Draft.
Who should the Broncos draft at No. 5 overall?
This poll is closed
1) Browns: Saquon Barkley
2) Giants: Sam Darnold
3) Jets: Josh Rosen
4) Browns: Josh Allen