Baker Mayfield | FINAL EXAM With Steve Fairchild

Football lifer Steve Fairchild has been involved in coaching for over the past 35 years, as head coach of Colorado State (2008-2011), Virginia offensive coordinator (2013-2015), San Diego Chargers Senior Offensive Assistant (2012), Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator (2006-2007), St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator (2003-2005), Buffalo Bills running back coach (2001-2002) and numerous other coaching positions, which began during his time at San Diego Mesa Community College as offensive coordinator in 1982. Along the way, he has coached high-profile quarterbacks such as Marc Bulger, JP Losman and Dan McGwire. This season, Fairchild returns for a second stint in The Spring League, featuring Johnny Manziel, where he’ll be serving as head coach/offensive coordinator. Over the years, coach Fairchild has developed his own in-depth grading system which entails 15 different categories that projects how successful a quarterback prospect will be when transitioning from college to the pros. Each category is given a score from 1-10 based on film study of five-to-six games, with ten being the highest score (exceptional/elite) and one being the lowest (poor/inadequate). Coach Fairchild has agreed to put the top quarterback prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft through his ‘FINAL EXAM’ in an exclusive NFL Draft Bible series, which includes an overall grade (maximum of 150) and projection for each top signal-caller. This is the second part of a six-part series, Fairchilds fifth ranked quarterback is Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma.

MEASUREABLES

School: Oklahoma | Hometown: Austin, TX | Number: #6 | Height: 6005 | Weight: 215 | Hand: 0914 | Arm: 3014 | Forty: 4.84 | Vertical: 29” | Broad: 9-3 | Shuttle: 4.28 | L-Drill: 7.00 | Year: Senior | Twitter: @bakermayfield

BIO

A former walk-on at both Texas Tech and Oklahoma, Mayfield has been defying the odds his entire life, from transferring schools, to being dubbed undersized and dealing with several on-field/off-field incidents that have put his character under the microscope. He would go on to have a record-setting career at Oklahoma, becoming the first-ever “walk-on” to ever win the Heisman Trophy in 2017. Mayfield finished his career making 43 starts, throwing for 14,320 passing yards and tossing 129 touchdowns, compared to just 29 interceptions. He is projected to be a first round draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

EVALUATION

Size & Athletic Ability

Baker Mayfield lacks true NFL quarterback height, standing in just under 6-1. He possesses a good build at 215 pounds and demonstrates strong lower body strength. He shows plenty of toughness on the field, as he’ll slip lower body tackles and use straight stiff-arms to the defender. He has decent top-end speed and demonstrates change of direction/athletic ability when running the ball and scrambling. His ability to function in the pocket is compromised because of his height and this will be a factor as he transitions his game to the NFL. GRADE: 7.5

Statistics & Production

From a production standpoint, Mayfield had an outstanding college football career. His numbers at Texas Tech were solid. His stats at Oklahoma were off the charts. In 2017, he amassed a 43/6, touchdown-to-interception ratio, with a passer rating of 198.9, capping off one of the greatest single seasons of all-time by a college quarterback. His surrounding cast on offense this past season was exceptional – this added to his production. He is definitely a talented quarterback that understands the game of football and finds a way to produce, no matter the system/coaches/setting. GRADE: 9.5

Arm Ability & Throwing Mechanics

Mayfield flashes a very quick delivery, with no wasted motion. He’s fundamentally sound with his upper body throwing mechanics. He has good but not great arm strength. Because of his throwing motion he is a highly accurate passer and can throw from a variety of platforms with minimal lower body involvement. This ability, along with his quick release and accuracy will translate well to the NFL game. At times, he will play on his toes a bit too much and will bounce in the pocket.  This causes his timing to be slightly off on occasion. GRADE: 8.5

Drop/Setup/Alignment

Plays the game exclusively from the shot gun. Mayfield is often deep in his alignment behind the center (back foot at six yards) and does not demonstrate an ability to drop with consistency or rely on timing.  When he is not riding the running back on an RPO or throwing a quick route or screen, he’s a catch and bounce type quarterback. He will need to correct this part of his game in order to be able to function in an NFL type offensive scheme. Mayfield sets too deep at times (nine-plus yards) and does not always move up in the pocket when hitting this depth. This did not appear to be an issue last season due to the good offensive line play he was afforded in 2017. This depth helped his vision, as it created space for him in the pocket; he will not be able to do this in the NFL. Once he sets up, he has excellent balance and alignment.  He maintains this posture as he changes his target. Mayfield is athletic enough and demonstrates good foot movement. This will help him transition to playing the game under center and with more timing-type footwork in the shotgun. However, this will be a challenge for him as he tries to be an NFL quarterback. GRADE: 7.0

Quick Game Performance/Accuracy (Three-Step)

Quick delivery and the design of the Oklahoma offense made this a big part of his game and he was very productive with these types of throws. The speed of his wide receivers led to a lot of off coverage in certain games and these were easy throws/reads. His offense spread the field with personnel groupings and splits/alignments and then used the speed/athletic ability of the skill players to create an exceptional quick passing game that Mayfield understood and executed very well. GRADE: 8.0

Quick Game Performance/Accuracy (Five-Step)

Mayfield did a lot of these types of throws with non-subtle pocket movement and RPO-type footwork. He did show the ability to throw medium-type out routes and curl routes, however there was not the consistent timing type throws that you have to make in the NFL. He has a very good feel for the vertical seam throws. When he demonstrates anticipation with a throw, it’s generally to the primary receiver. There isn’t a lot of evidence of anticipation while working a progression and staying in the pocket. GRADE: 7.5

Intermediate Throw Performance/Accuracy (Seven-Step)

He does show the ability to make deep in cut throws and comeback throws. Mayfield demonstrates good but not overpowering arm strength. His delivery, accuracy and decision-making allowed him to be able to bring this route depth to the Oklahoma offense. It wasn’t needed with frequency in a lot of games because of offensive production in other areas. GRADE: 7.5

Deep Ball Performance/Accuracy (35+ Yards)

He threw the ball deep with good results in 2017. The speed of the Oklahoma wide outs gave him a lot of opportunities to make these types of throws.  He’s an over-strider when putting the ball 40-plus yards down the field and needs a clean pocket to even attempt making these throws. His arm strength is adequate with deep ball throws. GRADE: 7.5

Timing/Vision-Processing/Anticipation

There isn’t much evidence of Mayfield being predicated around timing. When he does, it’s usually to a primary receiver. Once the game goes beyond the initial look, he relies on big pocket movement or scrambles to get to the second and third choices. Most anticipation-type throws were to the primary receiver or off of a scramble, not a progression. Mayfield appears to see the field well but does so with deep drops and clean pockets due to excellent pass protection. When the pocket was pushed, his effectiveness was compromised. He relied on big launch point movements and scrambles. He was effective doing this, however it does not translate to the NFL game. GRADE: 6.5

Designed Movement Throws

Mayfield was highly effective with naked and sprint-type of schemes. He primarily did these to his right side. However, he shows that he can move left and make throws when he scrambles and is a very quick and accurate passer when on the move. GRADE: 8.0

Pocket Demeanor & Movement

One negative on Mayfield is he doesn’t demonstrate the ability to subtly move in the pocket when his launch point and/or vision is being challenged. Instead, he relies on big movement and this does not allow him to throw the football with timing and anticipation when he the pocket is being pushed. He does excel at big pocket movement and throwing from various platforms. He made a lot of positive plays doing these types of things this past season. GRADE: 7.5

Unique Throws

He shows great ability to make unique screen and RPO type throws. He’s quick with the ball and accurate, thus very effective when making these throws. Mayfield makes a variety of receiver and backfield screens with different timing and to different areas of the field. His RPO throws were to both tight ends and wide outs. This was a big part of the Sooners offensive scheme and his quarterback production. GRADE: 8.5

Poise & Performance In Critical Situations

Shows a good understanding of game situations overall. However, Mayfield is a risk taker and tries to make some throws that he should not attempt. He’s very confident in his ability – perhaps too confident. His quick delivery and accuracy serve him well in the red zone. Oklahoma was an efficient third down offense. His offensive system was suited for two-minute drill execution. He appears to be a very aware and football smart quarterback. GRADE: 8.0

Decision-Making

Mayfield was relied on to be the focal point of the Oklahoma offense. He attempted over 400 passes in 2017 and completed over 70%. For the most part, he is a smart decision-maker. At times, he is too aggressive with the ball/too confident in his ability to make a throw. This is make up and is a positive. However, he has not been a quarterback that has stayed in the pocket and made decisions in tight quarters on a regular basis. He’ll need to do this, in order to be an NFL quarterback. GRADE: 7.5

Ability To Scramble/Extend Plays

Mayfield is a very good quarterback when forced to leave the pocket. He did this too often at times in 2017, partly because his ability in the pocket is limited. His production was very good outside of the tackle box and made his decisions to scramble too quickly a non-issue. At times, he extends plays too long and passes on an open receiver. This aspect of his game was a big plus for the Oklahoma offense. GRADE: 8.5

SUMMARY/DRAFT PROJECTION

The Texas native is tough, accurate, quick with the ball and possesses football intelligence. These abilities, along with an outstanding supporting cast, led to a great season for Mayfield and the Oklahoma offense in 2017. His quick release, superb upper body mechanics and consistent accuracy will translate well to the NFL game. His ability to throw off different platforms with little lower body involvement are positives. Mayfield is a good athlete and can extend plays with his scrambling, in addition to being a very accurate thrower on the move. He can make drastic pocket movements but struggles to stay in the pocket and keep plays alive when subtle changes to his launch point and target lines are needed. He doesn’t exhibit timing and anticipation throws that are needed in the NFL. His ability to see the field when the set-up position is not deep and/or the pocket is being pushed is poor. When his space in the pocket is threatened, he’s quick to make big moves to extend plays and doesn’t allow for progressions/timing. He will need to develop under center, improve his timing and become more of a footwork thrower. He has the footwork and athletic ability necessary to be able to develop this part of his game. Mayfield is a quarterback with a long track record of success. There is still quite a bit of work needed to develop him into an NFL quarterback. He is a reach as a first-round draft pick, as there’s a lot that has to happen in order for him to be successful, it would be a much safer investment to select him in the second round. OVERALL GRADE:  117.5

CAREER STATS

Rick Serritella

Established in 2002, NFL Draft Bible Founder Ric Serritella began his independent scouting service as a publication used by all 32 NFL teams. Eventually, it would evolve into an online scouting resource that reaches millions of people each month. An early adaptor to technology, the NFL Draft Bible produced the first ever livestream video show and live podcast on location from the NFL Draft. The NFL Draft Bible network extends to professional football leagues all over the world and includes general managers, executives, scouts, coaches, agents, trainers, advisors, along with other media outlets and draftniks. In addition to owning the NFL Draft Bible, Serritella has also served as executive producer of the T.Ocho Show (2010) on NBC Sports, producer for The Mike & The Mad Dog Show (2002) on YES Network, producer for NFL Now with Mike Francesa, one of the only nationally syndicated NFL shows at that time (2003), producer on ESPN Hollywoood (2005) and helped start up the Wall Street Journal YouTube channel (2007). He has interviewed the likes of Donald Trump, Roger Goodell, Archie Manning, Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson, Danica Patrick, Venus Williams, Howard Stern, Don King, Jay-Z, Madonna, Bon Jovi and hundreds of other celebrities/athletes. Other involvements include helping build the fiber-optic system for MLB Network during his time as manager at HTN Communications, writing for USA TODAY, working for CBS and AEG Live. Since 2015, he has served as the Director of Media for the Parabolic Performance NFL Draft Prep program. In 2017, Serritella served as the Director of Player Personnel for the College Gridiron Showcase & Symposium. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University (JWU) in Providence, RI, Serritella earned a B.A. in Sports Entertainment & Event Management and was honored with the Inaugural Sports Entertainment & Event Management Success Board Achievement Award by the school in 2009. While attending JWU, he interned for the New England Patriots and ESPN X-Games. A proud member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Serritella currently resides in his home state of New Jersey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: