Among the top five quarterback prospects in this year’s NFL, Baker Mayfield has questions fairly unique to him. Undersized? Check. Bad attitude? Maybe, depending on your view. But he will be a first-round pick, perhaps even top-five overall with all the teams who are seeking a quarterback.
So let’s take a closer look at Mayfield, and attempt to forecast his immediate fantasy football impact.
– Has a competitive streak, plays with a chip on his shoulder as a former walk-on
– Has good mobility, can improvise “off platform” and make plays
– Throws very well on the move
– Arm strength is probably better than you think
– Processes well pre-snap
– Shows full command of offense
– Has good accuracy at all three levels
– Exhibits great leadership
– Lacks traditional size
– Played in spread offense, which limited post-snap reads, created easy throws
– Release point drops at times
– Competitive streak invites negative plays and a drop in overall fundamentals at times
– Can be stressed by pressure and complex coverages
– Confidence borderlines on cockiness
– Seems to let trivial things bother him (see Kansas game, 2017; making of list of media members who are saying negative things about him)
NFL Comparisons: Jeff Garcia, Doug Flutie, Johnny Manziel
Potential Landing Spots
Multiple rumors point toward Mayfield going to the New York Jets at No. 3 overall, with Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst.com reporting it’s a “done deal.” The Cleveland Browns (No. 4 overall), Denver Broncos (No. 5), Miami Dolphins (No. 11), Arizona Cardinals (No. 15) and New England Patriots (No. 23 and No. 31) are also in line to draft a quarterback, and could wind up with Mayfield.
In terms of immediate opportunity, and thus immediate fantasy value, the Jets and Cardinals stand above the rest. Josh McCown is slated to start for the Jets, but he’ll be 39 before the season starts and has not stayed healthy for a full season lately. Teddy Bridgewater is also there on the Jets’ depth chart, but he’s not guaranteed to even make the 53-man roster right now. The Cardinals have Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon as their top two quarterbacks right now. Between durability concerns (Bradford) and general ineptitude (Glennon), Mayfield could start Week 1 for Arizona with some good players around him.
The Broncos, if Case Keenum proves to be a one-year wonder, could also eventually be a good spot for Mayfield as a rookie. The Dolphins may shift away from Ryan Tannehill and the Patriots seem sure to come out of this draft with Tom Brady’s successor, but both teams are longer-term fantasy destinations for Mayfield.
If there’s any chance he could start more than a handful of games, Mayfield has a path to some sort of fantasy value as a rookie. The team that drafts him will drive his appeal as a draft pick in dynasty leagues, but unless he is named the Week 1 starter the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner won’t be worth drafting this year in normal-sized single-season leagues (14 teams or less).