Mayfield May Not Be NFL Standout: Editorial

by BoCarter | Posted on Wednesday, November 15th, 2017
The following editorial was submitted for the U. of North Texas sports journalism 4350 class by UNT journalism student Shelby Whitley…
Heisman Winner, Yes. NFL Quarterback, No.
By Shelby Whitley
Posting 598 yards and five touchdowns delivered the win to Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners on Nov. 4 during the Bedlam rivalry in a 62-52 win over Oklahoma State. These ridiculous video game numbers shot Mayfield up the Heisman list to a number one contender. Especially since his counterparts Bryce Love, Saquon Barkley, and Josh Adams all underachieved that week.
Then Mayfield helped the Sooners to 395 total offense yards and was 15-of-21 passing for 299 yards in the 38-point first half of OU’s 38-20 win over then-No. 6 nationally TCU last week.
The fifth-year senior is also in the conversation of being a top quarterback draft pick in April. It’s not a hot take for fans, analyst, and scouts to jump to this conclusion. Mayfield has a stout resume that would back-up any argument for him to go number one. The OU quarterback has racked up 3,226 yards, 28-5 touchdown to interception ratio through nine games with five rushing touchdowns. These stats are only from the current season which isn’t over yet.
Baker Mayfield has no doubt left a legacy in college football, and may be one of the best OU quarterbacks in history. His legacy, and outlandish stats, however, will not translate as well in the National Football League.
The first piece of evidence comes in the form of the opponents he is facing every year in the Big 12 Conference. This conference more than any other Power Five conference is known for being weak defensively, and that’s stating it nicely. Between the high scoring clashes in conference play, and the blowouts when facing non-conference ranked opponents the Big 12 shows a perchance for blown coverage.
During the Bedlam game against Oklahoma State, there was three different plays where wide receiver Marquise Brown outran the defense for 20 plus yards. Another game where Mayfield recorded unreal numbers was the air raid game against Texas Tech and Patrick Mahomes II in 2016. Mayfield and Mahomes went for a total of 1,078 yards while breaking the NCAA combined passing record. Mayfield completed 27-36 passes for 545 yards, sound familiar? Baker Mayfield is a talented quarterback, but he’s a talented spread quarterback in a conference that allows him put up gaudy offensive numbers.
Another contributing factor is the talent in his wide receiver corps. Having track speed guys like Dede Westbrook and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown added to his accomplishments in recent seasons after he transferred to Oklahoma from Texas Tech.
Westbrook was known for streaking straight past man coverage, in his final year Westbrook notched 80 catches for 1,524 yards and 17 touchdowns. During 2016 Hollywood Brown has lit up defenses in the screen game by simply running untouched through defenses. Brown also had a career game in Stillwater, breaking a school record with 262 receiving yards. The sophomore has been said to be a step faster than Westbrook who clocked a 4.34 over 40 yards at Pro Day. Weapons who can get open or run faster than everybody on the other side of the ball definitely gets you an easy Saturday of passing from time to time.
I know everyone is waiting for me to use the argument that Mayfield is another Johnny Manziel. There are similarities – the height, the athleticism, the scramble, and the knack for getting arrested in college. But here’s the thing, Manziel didn’t make it, because of his lack of preparation and his determination to stay in trouble. Mayfield has a greater upside than Manziel, and had managed to scale down his off the field antics. Mayfield is not Manziel 2.0.
Mayfield will be a decent backup QB coming out of college, but not a number one draft pick. Manziel has not been under pressure enough in the Big 12. We have not seen enough of going through the progression as his number one receiver is usually open, and we have seen too many times Mayfield stare down his receiver.
Baker Mayfield is going to have an outstanding rest of the season that will most likely give him the top award in college football. He checks all the boxes for an elite college quarterback, but he does not however check the boxes to be franchise quarterback coming

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