The Ultimate Baker Mayfield Scouting Report

Dec 2, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) runs the ball in the second quarter against the TCU Horned Frogs in the Big 12 Championship game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Biography/Accolades

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Baker Mayfield, a redshirt senior from Oklahoma, is a 6 ft 1 in, 220 lb quarterback. Mayfield’s accolades include winning the 2017 Heisman Trophy, as well as winning the 2017 Maxwell, Walter Camp, and Davey O’Brien Awards. He was named the AP’s Player of the Year in 2017, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2017, the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the year in 2013, and was named to the All-American team in 2015 and 2017. Baker was named to the All-Big 12 team all three years at Oklahoma (’15, ’16, and ’17).

Looking at Baker Mayfield’s stats, his passer rating goes up every year, which makes me think that Baker has the tools to continue developing under new coaches at the NFL level. Below this, we’ll get into the film session, I’ll break down three of Baker Mayfield’s games: Ohio State, Texas, and Oklahoma State. Bill Connely’s S&P+ rates Ohio State as the #8 defense in FBS, Texas as the #21 defense in FBS, and Oklahoma State as the #70 defense in FBS.

The Film Session

Baker Mayfield’s accuracy is on full display here. Mayfield is forced out to his left from the pressure, and he delivers a great pass while scrambling. The footwork is a little questionable here, his right foot seems to be in front of his left when he throws the ball, but he delivers the pass here in a tight window, and even though Baker may have thrown the ball a little bit behind the receiver, the catch is made. Some quarterbacks couldn’t make that throw with their feet set.

Baker spins out of the pressure here and makes a decent throw given the circumstances. The ball ends up incomplete, but Baker makes a heads up decision to throw the ball to the sideline to negate any risk of an interception, and his receiver almost comes up with the catch. While the end result is an incompletion,  Baker makes the best of a poor situation here and his ability to move in the pocket will draw Johnny Manziel comparisons.

The ball placement here is terrific. There is no way to know if there was an additional receiver open on the left side of the field because of the lack of an all-22 camera angle, but Baker didn’t look at the left side at all, so this certainly looks like a one-read play from the offensive coordinator. Baker fits the ball right in between two Ohio State defenders, one of which is Damon Webb, an NFL prospect in his own right.

Baker’s awesome ability to move in the pocket is on display here, and he makes the throw downfield with a defender in his face. I like the gutsiness there on third down and eight. Most quarterbacks would take the sack or throw the ball away, knowing that their team was in Field Goal range, but Baker sees an open receiver, and he took his shot. Even though he threw this pass on the run, he had excellent touch on the ball, and while it would be ideal for Mayfield to get his feet set, he throws while on the move better than most, and he kept his eyes downfield the whole way.

One of the most underrated parts of Baker Mayfield’s game is that when he is about to get sacked, he looks right into danger’s eyes and spits in it’s face. Mayfield makes the throw with three defenders in his grill, knowing that with just over a minute on the clock, a sack would force the Sooners to use their final timeout. He makes the throw, and the receiver gets out of bounds to stop the clock.

A touchdown from Baker that I felt I should include from the Texas game. Not much to see here, Mayfield throws a beautiful pass over the linebackers to a wide open receiver. The technique is certainly unorthodox, but it works here, Mayfield’s ball placement is very underrated by the general public. When most people think of mobile quarterbacks, they assume that his accuracy is spotty like Lamar Jackson, but Mayfield puts excellent touch on the ball here, even on the move.

You don’t see Baker Mayfield making Lamar Jackson type plays scrambling 40 yards for a touchdown, but he can make things happen on the ground, which we see here on a 2nd and 8. Mayfield slips a defender, sees the hole, and makes the right read to pick up the first down on the ground rather than trying to force something through the air.

One of my favorite things about Baker Mayfield is his elusiveness in the pocket, and his ability to extend plays, but that comes with a downside. Happy Feet. Oklahoma blocks six against Texas’ four on this play, and Mayfield is never in any real danger of being sacked, but he gets what NFL Scouts call “happy feet”. By that I mean, he is bouncing in the pocket as if he is getting ready for the pressure to show, but it never does. By constantly movinf his legs, he never is fully set, and therefore, the pass goes high. Baker never gets the chance to really plant his feet, and the ball bounces off of the tips of the receiver’s gloves. Mayfield’s footwork in the pocket is something that needs to get better.

Decisison making is still a question mark for me, even watching Mayfield all the time at Oklahoma, and looking more closely at these three games, I would still describe him as inconsistent. This is one of the times where I would put it in the negative bucket. Mayfield throws a dangerous pass over the middle when he has a wide open curl route at the top of the screen. On a third and six while losing in the 4th quarter, those type of mishaps will stick in your mind.

A lot of the passing game is quick curls, screens, and slants, and something that Baker does is he doesn’t take plays off, and by that I mean you’ll almost never see Baker Mayfield miss the easy throw. While researching Josh Allen (and I would say Lamar Jackson does this too) I read a quote that went along the lines of: Josh Allen makes the type of throws that nobody else can make, but he misses throws that you or I could. You never see Baker overthrow the screen, or miss an angle route while sitting in a clean pocket, and that sometimes goes unappreciated.

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Now its time to get into the delicious meat and potatoes of Baker Mayfield’s tape, the Oklahoma State game, but you have to eat those green beans first. Mayfield throws a pick on one of his first passes of the game. Watch Mayfield’s throw here, he takes a long windup, and that gives enough time for the defender to jump in front of the ball.

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If you look here, the receiver is open, but Baker’s windup motion lets the defender get in three or three and a half extra steps, and the pass is intercepted. I would say this is more of a good play on the part of the Okie State defense (an oxymoron usually) than an example of Mayfield reading the field poorly, but putting a little bit more “zip” on the ball would help, or maybe just shortening that windup.

It is really tough to know whose fault this incompletion is. Mayfield likes to throw receivers open, the problem here is that he was throwing to his tight end Mark Andrews, who is flexed out to the slot in this scenario. I have no doubt that if he were a normal slot receiver, the pass would have been dead on.

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Oh yes, let’s get into the fun stuff. The defense bites on the play action and Mayfield hits a wide-open running back out on a wheel route for the first touchdown of the game for either side, there would be many more in a matchup that ended at 62-52. Baker looks off the linebackers by watching the right side of the field, which means there is no help over the top on the touchdown.

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If I haven’t illustrated this point enough, Baker Mayfield is really good at maneuvering his way out of pressure. We see Baker scramble out to the right, step up to avoid the defender, and finish while on the run.

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Baker Mayfield is a gangster. This play can be interpreted two ways. Baker is too aggressive, or awesome, Baker is aggressive. On 3rd and 3 in the red zone, Mayfield passes up the wide open crossing route to throw the ball to the corner. My philosophy is, if its open, go for it, and it was open here, so I don’t have a problem with it, but some times might. Some teams might have a problem with Mayfield passing up the easy first down, but I have respect for a guy that will go out of his way to pick up an extra 15 yards.

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Wow, a quarterback throwing for the first down marker on a third and long instead of checking it down, what a novel concept! The throw wasn’t risky at all, Marquise Brown was wide open, and Mayfield stepped up in the pocket and fired it to Brown, I love it, way too often do we see quarterbacks pass up open receivers for fear of throwing an interception in the red zone.

I made mention of this earlier during the Texas film, how Baker Mayfield thrives under pressure. Mayfield stays calm and finds Rodney Anderson on the running back release, and Anderson does the rest. An incredible play.

 
Oh yes, the arm cannon is on full display here. Baker throws from the 15-yard line 55 or 60 yards downfield, with perfect accuracy. This is the stuff that NFL Scouts will drool over. Perfect touch, and not only that, but he throws the ball out to a place where only his receiver can catch it, with room to run too.
This is one risky throw. Almost picked off, and Baker had a chance to throw the ball earlier, just look at the picture below.
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Instead of fitting the ball in here, Baker waits until his wideout passes the sinking mike linebacker, and because of that, Mayfield almost throws an interception on this play.
This feels wrong to start and end the Oklahoma State game with an interception, but Mayfield makes a poor read here, there isn’t anything much else to it, I’m not really sure even how it happens.

The Verdict

Pros

Ball Placement
Arm talent
Excellent touch on the ball
Throws receivers open
Impossible to sack
Throws on the run well
Can extend a play or pick up yards on the ground

Cons

Undersized
Footwork
Winds up for throws
Inconsistent reading the field
“Happy Feet” in the pocket
Questionable as a team leader due to maturity issues

Mobility – 9.5/10
Arm – 8.5/10
Accuracy – 9.5/10
Decisions – 7/10
Footwork – 5.5/10
Technique – 7.5/10

Overall Grade: 79/100

*Rating Explanation* Where I think he should go, not where he will go
90+ Superstar
85+ Elite Player
80+ First Round Talent
77+ Second Round Talent
74+ Third Round Talent
66+ Third Day Talent (Rounds 4-7)

10/10 Rating – Best in the class or close to it
7.5/10 Rating – Average
5/10 Rating – Very Bad

The Verdict: Late First/Early Second Round Talent

There is about a 0% chance that Baker Mayfield is falling to the second round, quarterbacks are just way too important, so they always end up being picked way before they should, but I feel comfortable saying that Mayfield is not quite a day one guy yet talent wise, or at least he is right on the edge. Baker’s decision making and footwork really bring down his grades for me, and while when Baker’s feet are set I feel he has a case to be one of the most accurate passers in the class, he sometimes gets in his own way. If I were projecting where Baker goes, so many teams need quarterbacks that top-15 feels like a lock, but on a Big Board, he’d probably be around #30-35, a borderline first-round talent. At the end of the day, I think the film speaks for itself, Baker Mayfield has extraordinary potential as a passer, and he has the added bonus of being able to escape pressure and extend plays with his feet. If you can calm those happy feet in the pocket and get the footwork down, I feel like you have a guy with a chance to start at the NFL level.

 

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