Baker Mayfield is a tremendous college quarterback. In fact, he very well could win the Heisman Trophy for his play this season.
Mayfield is the definition of an explosive quarterback in today’s football environment. He can make throws all over the field and has the ability to make big plays, but he’s also athletic enough to take off with his feet and keep defenses off balance.
To that point, he’s thrown for 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns this season compared to just five interceptions. He’s also rushed 85 times for 310 yards and five touchdowns.
So yeah, Mayfield has been great for the Sooners, and he’s been great since 2015, but that doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to be a top quarterback in the NFL. He might become one because he certainly has the physical tools to thrive at the next level, but according to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, there are plenty of questions about Mayfield’s maturity:
“One of the more physically talented players in the entire draft,” an AFC team official said. “I wonder about his maturity, but not too much.”
Added an NFC team official: “He’s Russell Wilson physically. The worry is if he’s Johnny Manziel mentally.”
“He could be the steal of the draft,” another NFL team official said. “He’s that good. But is he stable? Can you count on him?”
The Russell Wilson comparable is obviously very favorable to Mayfield. Wilson is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and he’s been able to hurt defenses both with his feet and his legs over the years. He was also a top college quarterback who made the transition to the NFL successfully.
The Johnny Manziel comparisons are not so favorable for Mayfield. Manziel has all the talent in the world as a college quarterback — he did win the Heisman, mind you — but he couldn’t translate his game, or his mental state, to a professional level.
Manziel is one of the biggest busts in recent NFL history and there were plenty of character concerns surrounding him entering the league. Mayfield perhaps doesn’t have a Manziel-level of red flags, but there are reasons for NFL general managers to think twice, and apparently they are.