Draft Shorts: Rosen & Mayfield
James takes a look at his next 2 quarterbacks that could be heading into this year’s draft, starting with a draftnik’s favourite
The Rosen One.
My theory on Josh Rosen is that when he came out of the womb he probably already had refined, sound mechanics. He is as polished and sound an NFL prospect as we have seen in the last 10 years. Whenever scouts talk about transition to the NFL they preach about consistent accuracy, touch at all levels, sound pocket instincts/movement and an ability to make quick sound decisions under pressure. Throw in Rosen’s size (6’4″ 220lbs) and it appears he’s immediately “ready” for the Pro game, more so than other QBs. Last year Rosen missed time through injury and was perceived to have given ground to Sam Darnold as the consensus top QB, but this year? Well through 6 games Rosen has thrown for an average of 300 yds, and 3 TDs per game, including a 490 yd 5 TD performance vs Memphis where he distributed the ball to THIRTEEN different players. Rosen has shown growth this year, displaying a more refined ball placement this year and making the absolute most of the very limited supporting cast around him.
That final part of the sentence about maximising the talents of others is the other irresistible part of Rosen’s game, as he overcomes inconsistent line play and crippling drops from receivers on a weekly basis.
The negatives for Josh this year are that he feels the need to be the hero at times, in that regard he throws a lot of risky throws when playing from behind and puts the ball in harms way as a result.
There is a lot of mitigation in regard to making a definitive assessment of Rosen, I credit him higher than some do right now because he is playing well on a bad team, something most high picks have to learn to live with in the NFL.
Rosen doesn’t make excuses, he eradicates them. At this point come next April I believe he will be the in the mix to be consensus number one, and a talent who, like Winston and Wentz has the kind of top tier talent to tempt teams to mortgage multiple picks to move up for him. Particularly his ability to be consistent in the face of inconsistent talent around him and a leaky defense (Take note Brown’s fans!)
Projected pick: 1-5
Perfect Fits: Browns, Saints, Giants, Cardinals
Worst Fit: Texans, Jets
The Wild One.
Baker Mayfield has some impressive stuff on tape that is everything to do with football. He also has a growing number of things on tape that are not entirely to do with football that make you tut, and roll your eyes.
I first came across Baker whilst evaluating Dede Westbrook and Joe Mixon prior to the draft. His big play ability and consistently thrilling play stood out a mile in a world of micro-managed teens throwing bubble screens and curl flat and boring us all senseless. Baker Mayfield is Rock and Roll. He is Lemmy in a world of Chris Martin’s, but then maybe that’s a problem? – More on that later!.
Baker Mayfield is 6’1″, Which is not as tall as teams want from a QB, but he is still taller than Russell Wilson or Drew Bees, and like them, his playing style compensates for the lack of ideal height.
Another fly in the ointment is that he possesses what one might consider a pretty average arm (nit-picking again, its perfectly fine and he is mechanically, and quirky but sound).
Lets also be clear he is a tick below in terms of the raw physical tools the Allens and Darnolds of this world have, but he does have three incredible attributes. Truly elite pocket presence, exceptional escapability and a truly fearless gunslinger mentality.
Mayfield knows what to do when a play breaks down. Mostly when it all falls apart he takes off at speed with his eyes permanently downfield, then he throws accurately and with touch on the run better than almost any QB in College football. He also plays with enough discipline to limit turnovers, in fact he started the season with 202 consecutive pass attempts without a interception. That in the context of the way that Mayfield plays is actually pretty remarkable.
People will make a lot of the public intoxication arrest he had in 2016, and many will also point to his planting of the OSU Flag in the middle of Ohio States field and his crotch grabbing incident versus Kansas as issues with Maturity that are going to be awkward jumping off points in some of the combine interviews he will have come March 2018.
Whilst some of this might give GM’s real pause, for the most part, I truly believe that it’s just a competitor being competitive. Mayfield appears almost Brady-like in his pathological inability to accept he can be beaten. Also I imagine that deep down his coaches and especially, his team mates loved some of these moments. Not that they would ever admit it. Heck, its not like he pretended to be a pissing dog in the end zone or anything stupid like that. Although it does give people enough concern over his ability to be the face of a franchise.
Mayfield for me is someone who has so many intangibles and enough actual tangibles to make me wonder if he isn’t potentially a high level starter in the league after a few years. He doesn’t have an exceptional arm, however he has clearly demonstrated he can throw accurately 50+ yards down field off of an unstable base, so it’s still s pretty darn good arm nonetheless.
He can do so much that many of these QBs in this class cannot do. And most important of all, he plays winning football in alot of different ways.
Another massive positive that is not to be underestimated is that his game has survived the loss of Sterling Shepard, Joe Mixon, Samaje Perine and Dede Westbrook with no discernible dropoff, in fact this year Mayfield of all these passers, is the most improved by a stellar mile. That is the trait I put most value in, he adds value to players and he doesn’t lose value when they go. Add this to 3 and a bit seasons of consistent winning football and 2 consecutive Heisman top 5 finishes and I wonder if he isn’t being heinously undervalued. maybe not for long though. Not least when you consider that week 9 he recorded his 23rd consecutive game with 2 or more TD’ passes and vs OSU and their QB Mason Rudolph he threw for 600 yards and the 5tds in arguably one of the greatest QB battles in recent CFB history.
My guess is that if he gives us another few games like this then I am willing to bet he cracks round one in mock drafts and if he looks this good come next year I would expect him to actually go top 20.
If you want a flavour of the way people feel about Mayfield the overriding sense is that no wants to be “The guy who passed on Mayfield”. My one piece of advice with Mayfield? Don’t bet against him, he enjoys that, and he will enjoy punishing you and the team you love for it.
Projected Pick: 10-50
Pro comparison: Russell Wilson, DeShaun Watson
Perfect Fit: New Orleans, Pittsburgh Buffalo, Jacksonville. Arizona
Worst Fit: New York Giants, New York Jets, Cleveland
Up Next. Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen.