Football Gameplan’s Gene Clemons asked for a double feature to compare and contrast two 6-1, 205-ish QBs in similar offenses: TCU’s Trevone Boykin and OU’s Baker Mayfield.
I don’t follow college football narratives. I barely know who is competing for the Heisman. I only know Mark Richt got fired by Georgia and hired by Miami because I work at Georgia and the Bulldogs and Hurricanes are the only two teams I feel a remote sense of fandom for. And it is remote.
But Clemons is aware of some of the narratives of the season. One of them is the inspiring story of Baker Mayfield, a passer who started at two schools before falling out of favor before walking onto Oklahoma and earning the starting gig and leading the Sooners to huge season. Mayfield has been earning buzz among draftniks and Heisman fans.
It got Clemons curious about Mayfield, because he’s seen Trevone Boykin doing the things people have described of Mayfield for years, but without the same kind of buzz that Mayfield has suddenly earned. So we picked a game from each against 40 defenses–which also turned out to be contests where both quarterbacks had below average production compared to what they’ve done for the season.
- Consistently clean footwork throwing to his left.
- Skill at altering set up without hurting the rhythm of his delivery.
- Arm strength to drive the ball 30-45 yards down field.
- Accuracy and placement on deep fade routes.
- Often looks to throw first when using his legs against pressure.
- Top-end quickness and speed for a potential NFL quarterback, but only average-to-above average athletic ability for a receiver.
- Delivers the ball from a variety of arm platforms with success.
- Good reads and diagnosis in the run game and passing game.
- Willing to throw into tighter windows with anticipation.
- Tends not to step into throws when flashes of pressure comes into his peripheral vision.
- In this game, Boykin missed multiple big-play opportunities to seal the game and we discuss how we approach an evaluation when we see this kind of behavior from the first game.
- Moves with poise.
- Tries too hard to “shape” deep throws and the attempts were inaccurate.
- Like most good prospects, Boykin can try to hard to make a big play when the game context calls for a more conservative decision.
- Footwork throwing to his right can get a little cleaner.
- TCU allows Boykin to read the entire field and made no use of rollouts or designed movement as a thrower.
- Boykin displays a healthy, aggressive mindset as a passer, attacking the defense but throwing passes where only his receivers can make a play.
- Good mechanics for whipping the ball with velocity by opening his chest and keeping his feet in a balanced stance.
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- Finds a way to make the big play for his team as a passer.
- Displays a toughness to work through pressure and find an open man.
- Willing to make throws into tight windows.
- He’ll deliver the ball from a variety of platforms and often with success on shorter routes.
- Above average athletic ability for a potential NFL quarterback.
- His stance during his setup to throw the ball is so wide that he has to overcompensate his hips and arm to push the ball downfield, limiting is velocity.
- Tends to abandon the pocket unnecessarily and often does so to his right.
- Needs to learn proper upper body mechanics to generate a whipping motion to generate more power from this throws.
- He has to learn to get his shoulders into position to throw the ball with velocity on the move when he’s moving left or right.
- Mayfield saw and bypassed multiple opportunities to drive the ball to an open receiver within the structure of the play and opted to work outside the pocket.
- Oklahoma and TCU have similar offenses and many of the same plays, but where TCU asked Boykin to make full-field reads, OU often designed rolls to cut the field in half for Mayfield.
- He creates more difficult targets than necessary because of his decision-making and lack of confidence in his arm as a pure pocket passer.
- In critical game situations, Mayfield plays with the focus to hit big throws with good placement on fades or throws on the move in the short and short-intermediate range of the field.
I left these sessions with the initial impression that if I don’t see anything significantly different from either quarterback in 3-4 games, Boykin is an NFL prospect who, if given 3-4 seasons of development as a reserve with limited playing time, will develop into a starter. Mayfield, if given 3-4 seasons of development as a reserve with limited playing time might develop into a starter–in the CFL or another professional league with a lower tier of talent.
Check out more from Gene Clemons @GeneClemons and head over to Football Gameplan where they’re doing excellent work. Check out their weekly NFL preview videos, their new podcast, and their two books: Football: A Love Story and What Did Football Teach Me.
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