Baker Mayfield pulled off a seismic victory in Columbus Saturday night, taking the lead in the Heisman discussion and vaulting Oklahoma into a driver’s seat for a playoff spot. Also, the flag plant was a moment you’ll see replayed all season.
But the real question: Does this kid have an NFL future?
Mayfield’s college football story is an impressive one: After receiving no Big 12 offers, he started at Texas Tech – as a walk-on. Due to injuries at QB, Mayfield started the opener as a true freshman and was exceptional, passing for 413 yards and four TDs. Later in the year, he got hurt, lost his starting job (to Davis Webb, a current backup on the New York Giants) and then transferred to Oklahoma.
2015: 68 percent completions, 36 TDs, 3700 yards
2016: 71 percent completions, 38 TDs, 3,669 yards
Why can’t Baker Mayfield (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) be the next Dak Prescott (6-foot-2, 230 pounds at Mississippi State)?
Obviously NFL system matters the most, but from Mayfield’s skill set to frame to all those miscellaneous, unquantifiable traits that matter, the Oklahoma star reminds me a lot of Prescott. They both even have an arrest! (Here’s Mayfield’s; here’s Prescott’s.)
The biggest difference seems to be height – at 6-foot-1, Mayfield will automatically be docked considerable points by NFL scouts. But this quote from Prescott last year was telling:
“The offense we ran at Mississippi State was nothing short of an NFL offense. The only thing that was different is that we didn’t go under center. I swear to you, in (pre-draft) visits, every play they showed me, I could name it. We just called it something different. At another team I visited, they ran the exact same stuff we ran.”
The question will surely be asked of Mayfield: You were rarely under center, do you know play x, y, z? Can you make the necessary reads? The biggest Mayfield comparison will be Manziel – a white QB from Texas who runs around and makes plays. Manziel was 5-foot-10 and put up astronomical numbers in Sumlin’s offense. He went to Cleveland and failed; everyone goes to Cleveland and fails.
If Dak Prescott gets drafted by the Browns, is he successful? Thankfully, we’ll never know.
Someone will certainly take a mid-round flier on Baker Mayfield. The question will be whether or not he has the right infrastructure around him to be successful like Dak Prescott (4th round pick) and Russell Wilson (3rd round pick).