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The next Drew Brees? Okay, so it may be a bit hasty to proclaim the gun slinging passer as being at the same level as one of the best NFL quarterbacks of all time. However, considering the amount of success that Baker Mayfield had, especially during his senior year at Oklahoma, it's hard to ignore the intriguing potential of one of the most polarizing quarterbacks to come out of the college ranks. While his off the field antics may dissuade some from taking a chance on him, Mayfield's impressive combination of athleticism and leadership intangibles are ideal for a passer that is determined to be highly successful for the long term in the NFL.
Throughout his four-year college career , Mayfield was particularly adept at not turning the ball over (never threw double-digit interceptions in college), which coupled with his impressive accuracy, made him a deadly playmaker that could consistently throw open receivers. However, Mayfield's maturation on the field was not fully realized until his final two seasons in college where he completed over 70% of his passes while throwing for over 40 touchdown passes in each of those seasons. Outdoing himself in every season he participated in during his college career, Mayfield was especially dominant during his senior season as he threw for 4,627 passing yards while averaging 11.5 yards per pass attempt. Although Mayfield looked a bit skittish in the pocket at times when a fierce pass rush was bearing down on him, his improvisational skills in conjunction with his exceptional touch passing abilities allowed him to excel more often than not.
Yet, for everything that Mayfield was able to do on the field as a consummate leader and passer, he at times struggled to carry this over into his off the field life. Although Mayfield never was a perpetrator when it came to committing acts with serious criminal intent, his inability to think before acting at times placed him in an unfavorable position. While the feisty quarterback apologized in a sincere fashion on a couple of occasions for acting out, he will have to prove that he can be an individual that is capable of learning from his mistakes rather than letting those transgressions define his personality which is otherwise impressively inspirational.
In terms of his physical build, Mayfield is noticeably smaller than what many consider to be the ideal size for a potentially elite quarterback. At 6'1”, Mayfield lacks the prominent stature to look over charging defensive linemen and he may struggle initially to function effectively in the pocket. Luckily, the the undersized passer posses exceptional scrambling capabilities, something that has served Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson well considering he plays behind one of the most inept offensive lines in the pros. While Mayfield will need to establish a much more confident pocket presence if for no other reason than to avoid being mauled by ferocious defensive ends and hefty defensive backs, he at least has the instincts and the football IQ to work on this weakness as he progresses as an eventual starting NFL quarterback.
Although there are several quarterbacks in this years draft class that possess superior size, Mayfield is easily the most natural leader amongst the top tier quarterback prospects. In the loss to Georgia in the semi-final of the College Football Playoffs, Mayfield regularly approached multiple teammates on both offense and defense to provide a morale boast during the emotionally intense affair. Assuming Mayfield goes early in the draft to a team that is in the midst of rebuilding, this innate ability to galvanize his teammates will be coveted as it could very well be the difference in his respective team winning a tight contest against a tough-minded opponent.
In the end, Baker Mayfield is an intriguing prospect that is fearless when it comes to making plays on the fly, which will be further amplified by his off the charts competitive drive that has allowed him to persevere and be successful in high pressure situations. While he needs to become more disciplined when working from the pocket, the relentless and talented playmaker will be able to adjust to the rigors of playing in the pros to become one of the most exciting young quarterbacks to grace the NFL in some time.