Name: Baker Mayfield
Weight: 220 pounds
Projected Round: Round 1
Mayfield will be unfairly compared to Johnny Manziel, but Mayfield is a much better than Manziel ever was. Mayfield can read what a defense is going to give him pre-snap, and it allows him to have a plan before the play starts. He does a great job of going through his progressions and his eyes move quickly from read-to-read. Uses his eyes to freeze safeties in position, opening one-on-ones for his receivers.
One of Mayfield’s best assets, however, is his playmaking ability. He never tries to do too much, and he understands what’s being given to him. Mayfield responds very quickly to what the defense throws at him. He will move out of the pocket when necessary and can buy time with his feet. Can be creative when scrambling. This is the part of his game that reflects Manziel’s playing style.
Accurate passer that is not afraid to throw it into tight windows. Able to accurately throw to every part of the field. Has the touch to drop over the shoulder passes to his receivers, away from defenders. But can also fire passes to his receivers.
Uses a strong lower-half to add velocity to his throws. Throws have good velocity when he is throwing off-balance. Can be accurate when throwing on the run because of his tight release.
May not have break-away speed, but he is athletic enough to cause problems for defenses when running the ball. Smart runner that is not afraid to lower his shoulder to gain a first down.
Questions surround his height and if he can make the transition against bigger defenders. His throws are susceptible to being knocked down at the line of scrimmage.
Struggled when defenses disguised their coverages and was caught off guard by delayed blitzes. Although he was good in college at pre-snap reads, will need to get a better understanding at the NFL level.
Does not have elite arm strength. Can have trouble delivering deep passes crisply. Deep balls would hang in there longer than he intended, letting defenders to get in position to make a play on the ball. Needs to have perfect timing to beat safeties making plays on his deep throws.
Will rely too much on scrambling to make plays. Does not have the cleanest technique in the pocket. Has happy feet in the pocket instead of keeping a good base. Will throw off back foot at times instead of transferring weight from his back foot to his front foot. Issues with feet causes his throws to get of target.
Fit with the Cleveland Browns
Mayfield has the attitude and confidence to do whatever is necessary to succeed in the NFL. But he is a quarterback that needs the offense built to his strengths, He will not be able to slide into any NFL offensive scheme and succeed.
He would be a tough fit in the Browns offense. Hue Jackson and Todd Haley have had history with taller quarterback and have rarely used quarterbacks the size of Mayfield. Also, Mayfield’s arm strength may not be what Haley and Jackson want in their quarterback.
Mayfield does not struggle to get the ball downfield, but his balls will hang in the air longer than desired. Haley and Jackson both like to take chances and stretch the field vertically. It is unlikely they would want a quarterback with inconsistent arm strength. And for a city like Cleveland with winds off the lake, Mayfield’s deep throws could hang in the air even longer.
Jackson does like to have a mobile quarterback. It was noticeable in 2017, as Jackson called designed run plays for DeShone Kizer. Mayfield would be able to slide into a scheme like the Browns used for Kizer. But Cleveland would run plenty of vertical plays due to Kizer’s arm strength. Mayfield’s arm does not have throw with same velocity as Kizer does.
Mayfield would best fit into a West Coast offense. Designed throws in the short and intermediate range, relying on a quarterback’s accuracy. He has the potential to be a good NFL quarterback. But for the offensive system the Browns are likely to have in 2018, Mayfield would not be the best fit for Cleveland.