Mayfield Hits the Combine with Confidence

Posted Mar 5, 2018

Oklahoma QB Proclaims He's Accurate, Honest, Passionate & a Winner in Indy

If you want your young quarterback's football talk to be tame, tepid and politically correct, Baker Mayfield may not be for you.

"I don't think I'm cocky. It's not cocky, it's just confident," Mayfield, the 22-year-old QB out of Austin, Texas, and the University of Oklahoma, told reporters in his fairly deep, no-brag-just-fact voice at the NFL Combine workouts in Indianapolis today.

Mayfield has been jockeying with Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson for the attention of signalcaller-needy NFL teams at the top of next month's draft. And from his remarks on day one of the Combine, he's either not your cup of QB tea ... or he's just the jolt your team needs.

Mayfield wasn't asked specifically about the Jets in his 12½-minute interview session, but he was asked about the Browns, holding the draft's No. 1 pick.

"First things first, they'd get a winner," he said. "I think if anybody's going to turn that franchise around, it'd be me."

Strong enough? There's more.

He was asked what makes him Cleveland's, or any other team's, best first-round option.

"I think it's a few things," he said. "It's accuracy — I can make any throw. Winning is the most important. But the way I've been able to get my guys around me to play, not just the offensive players but the defensive guys, special teams, the energy I bring, the passion I bring — it's infectious."

What about his character? Mayfield has had several college issues that no doubt raised some red flags for all the teams at Lucas Oil Stadium this fortnight. He also took that issue head-on.

"Until you sit down and talk to me directly, you might have an image that's portrayed within stories or headlines," he said. "But I love the game. I'm upfront and honest. I let them know exactly what I'm about. I think that's the most important thing. What you see is what you get. I've always been brutally honest. Some people don't like that because it's rare nowadays. But I go to these meeting and I'm just myself. I want to get drafted by a team that knows exactly what they're getting."

That honesty came through when Mayfield declared, "I'm the most accurate quarterback in this draft, by far."

Such boldness does turn some folks off, but you know what? He's probably right. Mayfield completed better than 70% of his passes both in '16 and last season for the Sooners. And besides accuracy, there's his production. He improved his TDs-to-INTs ratio from 5-to-1 to 7-to-1 this past year (43 TDs to 6 INTs). The Sooners' record under his guidance didn't improve much, though — they were 11-2 in '15, 12-2 the past two years.

Mayfield even has ready answers for those who sniff about his 6'1" stature.

"Height doesn't matter," he said. "You see guys like Tyrod Taylor, Brees, Russell Wilson, they've proven that it doesn't matter. If you want to see anything else, I've got three years of tape you can watch. ... I think I've had less batted balls at the line of scrimmage than the other guys here and I'm pretty sure I'm shorter than them, too."

Mayfield admits to being a big Brett Favre fan when he grew up, and as he's built his college résumé he said he looks more to the Saints' Drew Brees as he continues to work on his base and his footwork. But he has a hot take for any who worry he may have too big a head to go in and turn an NFL team's fortunes around just like that.

"To be compared to Brett Favre, it's pretty special. But he was his own player and so am I," Mayfield said. "I'm not trying to be Brett Favre Jr. or the second coming of him. I'm going to be myself. And I want to be the best to ever play."