Baker Mayfield has 'it' factor — and quarterback-starved Jets should pay attention – ESPN (blog)


INDIANAPOLIS — By the time he was finished with his media session Friday at the NFL scouting combine, Baker Mayfield was trending on Twitter.

So was #noreaster.

They’d be trending together again April 26 if Mayfield winds up getting drafted by the New York Jets. Just imagine the fallout if the charismatic yet polarizing quarterback lands in the Big Apple. It would create a different kind of storm.

The perfect storm.

Mayfield is exactly what the Jets need: a brash playmaker who can galvanize the offense and infuse the franchise with a sense of hope. His personality is a turnoff for some people, which is why I have my doubts about whether general manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles are willing to step outside the box and make the former Oklahoma star the face of their franchise. He might be too much of a wild child for their taste, but he at least deserves consideration.

“The energy I bring — the passion I bring — is infectious,” Mayfield told a crowd of reporters.

I spoke to an AFC scout who doesn’t think Mayfield — listed at only 6 feet — is good enough to warrant a top-15 pick. A scout from another team told me he has the potential to change a franchise.

When: April 26-28
Where: Arlington, Texas
NFL draft home page ? | Draft order ?

? NFL combine results, coverage ?
?InsiderMel Kiper’s Mock Draft 2.0 ?
?InsiderTodd McShay’s Mock Draft 2.0 ?
? Which NFL teams could draft a QB? ?
? Kiper’s Big Board ? | McShay’s Top 32 ?
? 2018 draft QB class primer ?
? Underclassmen who have declared ?

Baker is in the eye of the beholder.

But the Jets — who hold the No. 6 overall selection — are in no position to dismiss a quarterback with a touchdown-interception ratio of 43-6 just because he thinks he’s da bomb. One caveat: If the Jets’ background check yields legitimate character concerns … well, that’s a different story. Remember, Mayfield was arrested last February and charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. The last thing the Jets need is a Johnny Manziel situation.

“I can handle the spotlight, I can handle it just fine,” Mayfield said when asked about the prospect of playing in a big market like New York. “I think, being under pressure, is something I thrive on.”

Mayfield stole the show at the combine’s media day for quarterbacks. He certainly out-swaggered USC’s Sam Darnold (California cool), UCLA’s Josh Rosen (confident, but too programmed), Wyoming’s Josh Allen (aw, shucks) and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson (relaxed and funny).

So, Baker, about your height …

“Height doesn’t matter,” he said. “You see guys like Tyrod Taylor and Russell Wilson, they prove it doesn’t matter. If you want to say anything, I’ve got three years of tape you can watch. I think I have less batted balls at the line of scrimmage than all the guys here, and I’m pretty sure I’m the shortest guy.”

Your best attribute?

“I’m the most accurate quarterback in this draft by far,” said Mayfield, who completed 70.5 percent of his passes last season for the Sooners.

An Ohio-based reporter asked how he’d feel about playing for the Cleveland Browns, who own the first and fourth picks.

“If anybody is going to turn that franchise around,” Mayfield said, “it would be me.”

He has the “it” factor. At the Senior Bowl, he took immediate command in practice and in the meeting rooms, impressing coaches with his leadership and knowledge. He’s not for everyone. He acknowledged, “I’m brutally honest and some people don’t like that.” But he’s a winner and a fierce competitor. When asked if he considered skipping the throwing drills at the combine — a la Darnold — he shrugged.

“This is the biggest job interview of my life,” he said. “Why wouldn’t I want to show what I can do?”

The Jets need to pay attention, very close attention.


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