Matt Waldman’s RSP examines QB Baker Mayfield’s ability to cycle through progressions and deliver with balanced footwork.
Baker Mayfield is in the news after he grabbed his crotch during a victory over Kansas. Without seeing the game or reading much about what happened, I imagine the action was in response to the Kansas team captains who refused to shake Mayfield’s hand at midfield during the coin toss.
I do not factor character issues into my evaluations because I don’t get to interview players or examine data collected by scouts and investigators. I’ve also had enough years of experience conducting interviews in two different fields to understand that many scouts lack the skills and background to make accurate assessments of players in this way.
Even when they sometimes get it right, why would I want to act on second or third-hand information from people who are often ill-equipped to do this work?
This incompetence is also true of upper management in NFL organizations. According to someone I trust with a great deal of league experience, most general managers and owners misuse the information they receive and few teams understand how to create positive environments for at-risk players.
Therefore, I restrict my grades and rankings to on-field behavior − even if I share issues worth discussion in my annual scouting reports. This way, I can grade a player based on the presumption that his off-field behavior will be good enough to get him on the field.
On the field, Mayfield is an intriguing prospect based on the times we’re in. A decade ago, Mayfield would be seen as a gimmick. Thanks to Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin, Colin Kaepernick, and Deshaun Watson, the NFL has proof that spread offenses can be effective on Sundays when teams fit the scheme around the player instead of seeking a QB cut from a template established in 1965.
Mayfield has demonstrated skills that could help him win from the pocket. He also has deficiencies that remind me of Carson Wentz’s initial challenges in the NFL. Learn more in this week’s Boiler Room.
For analysis of skill players, get the Rookie Scouting Portfolio. Better yet, if you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2017 RSPs at no additional charge. Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 each.