RSP Boiler Room No. 117: QB Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) Owning The Pocket

Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines a facet of Oklahoma QB and 2018 NFL Draft prospect Baker Mayfield’s command of the pocket that must improve.  

Johnny Manziel, Russell Wilson, and Drew Brees are three quarterbacks I’ve seen as comparison points for Baker Mayfield. Whether or not I see merit in any of them is not yet important at this point — at least not until Mayfield demonstrates greater ownership of the pocket.

For many of you, this point seems counterintuitive to Mayfield’s reputation as a time-buying, improvisational wonder. I value Mayfield’s skill for navigating his way around pressure as both a runner and a passer. I have also seen him stand in the pocket and wait patiently for a route to break open.

However, if Mayfield is to emerge as a consistent and productive NFL passer, he’ll have to learn to maneuver the pocket with greater wisdom and awareness of his teammates. Otherwise, he’ll create pressure that didn’t exist and be the root source for difficult targets that could have been far easier.

This completion from the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game is an example of multiple film exposures where I’ve seen Mayfield drift unnecessarily in the pocket. Because movement has become a successful part of his game, correcting this issue may prove difficult until he tempers some of his freewheeling movement and incorporates the refined footwork of dropbacks and hitches.

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