Baker Mayfield: Armchair Scouting Report
What His Numbers Say
Here are Baker Mayfield’s career numbers courtesy of Sports Reference:
I also put together his final year game log, including the rank of the opposing defense based on Football Outsiders S&P+:
Mayfield’s career has been extremely impressive, and he has completely dominated in his three years as a Sooner. To put into perspective just how good he’s been, there have been only three seasons since 2000 where a quarterback has had a passing efficiency rating over 190. Mayfield has two of them. The other belongs to Russell Wilson, who is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. For passers with over 1,000 career attempts, only Mayfield and Marcus Mariota have passer ratings over 170. It would not be a stretch to call Mayfield the most efficient collegiate passer of all time.
Over the course of the 2017 season, the Sooners faced off against five defenses ranked inside the top 16 of S&P+. Here is how he fared in those contests:
There was certainly a difference in production against top competition, but Mayfield was still very impressive. His passer rating and AYA were still well above what you would expect from any quarterback. If we look back at 2017 top 10 draft pick Patrick Mahomes, he had eight opponents in common with Mayfield during the 2016 collegiate season. Here is how they compared:
I would like to note that while plenty of bias exists against the Big 12 conference, these eight teams were all ranked between 22 and 67 in S&P+. The average rank was 46.4. This was not a group of cupcake defenses.
This is absolutely no contest. Despite attempting a whopping 20 fewer passes per game, Mayfield managed to throw for more touchdowns. He also posted an AYA over four adjusted yards better than Mahomes. Based on this comparison, there is no real reason for Mayfield to not be a top-five draft pick.
Of course, there will be some detractors to Mayfield based on his size, as he is only six-feet tall. I am not concerned about that at all, as he still weighed in at 216 pounds at the Senior Bowl. Mayfield is also an older prospect, finishing his final season at 22.7 years of age. Again, his production is so outrageous I don’t think it matters.
Player Comparison: Russell Wilson
I mentioned Wilson before, and he truly is the perfect comparison for Mayfield. Here is how they compared in their final seasons:
|Player||Cmp||Att||Pct||YPA||TD Rate||INT Rate||AYA||Att||YPC|
Wilson is the more mobile athlete, but Mayfield managed to be the more efficient passer. Still, there are no other signal-callers this century, and probably ever, to accomplish what each of these players did. Both showed a tremendous ability to maximize touchdowns and limit turnovers, and were a little more advanced in age than their peers (Wilson was 23.1 years old).
Ideal Landing Spot: Washington
This obviously assumes Washington does not re-sign Kirk Cousins this offseason, which could still happen. We’ve seen Cousins dominate the fantasy landscape under the tutelage of Jay Gruden, who is very willing to let his quarterback air it out. The weapons aren’t amazing, but I do think the combination of Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, and Jordan Reed is closer to underrated than bad. Mayfield would allow Washington to find a cheaper alternative to signing Cousins to a long-term deal, or paying him on the franchise tag for the third consecutive season.
CURRENT 2QB FANTASY ROOKIE DRAFT PROJECTION: TOP-SIX (ROUND 2 IN 1QB LEAGUES)
Mayfield is the fifth quarterback I have projected to be inside of the top six of rookie drafts come April. I still believe only Saquon Barkley is going to consistently crack the top six at the skill positions, and that while there may be a skill player or two who sneak in, you have to go into your rookie draft expecting to pay that price. It only takes one person to understand the greatness of Mayfield for him to go before you can select him.
Mayfield is currently my top-ranked quarterback prospect, and it is easy to see why. His efficiency at the college level is unparalleled, and only an elite NFL quarterback like Wilson comes close. While there will be bias against his size and his conference of play throughout the draft process, it is important to fade the noise. Mayfield has blown away other top prospects from the Big 12, and I expect him to have an immediate impact at the next level.