Breaking Down the Top 4 Quarterbacks of the 2018 Draft-Baker Mayfield

Drew Brees or Johnny Manziel?

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(Paxson Haws/The Daily)

If quarterback decisions were made solely on statistics, Baker Mayfield would be the unquestioned first overall pick. If they were based on measurables, he wouldn’t crack the third round.  The opposition of the two most important metrics regarding QB evaluation has turned Mayfield into one of the most interesting prospects of the last decade.

Personally, I wasn’t sold on Mayfield at midseason. Sure, he put up video-game numbers, but he was shredding Big 12 defenses that couldn’t punch their way out of a paper bag. Lighting up Kansas or a downtrodden Baylor program is no indication of NFL success. While the height question was holding everyone back, the quality of opposition was just as pressing of a concern for NFL teams.

Mayfield’s accuracy and velocity are both top notch. His performance against NFL quality defenders in the CFB Playoff semi-final against Georgia was immaculate. Time after time Mayfield stepped up and made clutch throws to keep Oklahoma in a game where their defense was demonstrably outmatched.

The tape from that game was enough to solidify Mayfield’s status as a first round pick. Unfortunately, there are few teams that need a QB outside of the top 5. If he slips past the Broncos at number 5, it could be a long wait before he hears his name called.

Mayfield’s composure in the pocket and accuracy, coupled with the gaudy statistics he produced in Norman place him above Josh Allen for me, but below Darnold and Rosen, who both possess all of Mayfield’s arm talent but add to that the height desired by NFL scouts.

The trash-talk, swagger, and general arrogance will rub some fans the wrong way, but it may be genetics that unsettle NFL teams. His height will remain at question until he proves the doubters wrong. He could be well on his way to making a lot of people look very foolish.


Spring is in the air…

There are box scores to check, and all is right in the world.

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Lefty looks good so far at 35, the deuce is really snapping. Think we can squeeze another year out of him?

I tell ya what, I had that kid pegged for Double-A, but he’s going to force some tough decisions around here.

You ever hear of this guy Jensen? Been riding the bus for years in the minors, but it sure didn’t look like it when he smacked that one halfway to Phoenix.

I’m convinced this rookie is going to be a 10x All-Star and the savior of our franchise based off of 5 Cactus League games.

He’s hitting .450 in Spring Training. He’s clearly winning the MVP.

He’s hitting .130 in Spring Training. It’s only Spring Training, completely irrelevant.

______________ followed a new offseason program and is in the best shape of his life. This is the year!

He struck out that one guy who used to be a perennial All-Star but is 40 now and fighting for a roster spot, so he’s the next Pedro Martinez, and nothing you tell me can convince me otherwise.

You know, if this guy who used to be a top prospect but never figured it out, another guy that had one good season 5 years ago,  some other player that is always injured, and washed up veteran put it together, we could have a real shot at the second wild card!

I’m sure the pulled hamstring on day two is nothing to worry about long term.

He got pegged in the hand and broke his pinkie? He’s a walking disabled list. Trade him now!


Take caution to avoid falling into the trap of thinking in the “Spring Training-isms” above. But take heart none the less in the return of America’s pastime.

Instead of cavernous bleacher sections filled with rabid fans roaring at the top of their lungs, there are grassy hills filled with oblivious kids running around aimlessly, having the time of their lives.

Instead of the bright lights and cloudy breath of October baseball, there are clear skies and dazzling sunlight.

Instead of 9 inning CGSO’s by Bumgarner and Kershaw, you have your buddy’s cousin’s roommate getting knocked around for six hits and three runs (two earned) in 1.2 innings.

But the mitt pops just the same, and the back cracks just as it does in the middle of the pennant race, and after a long hibernation, we will take whatever we can get.

Hope springs eternal, even for the A’s and the White Sox and the Phillies and the Blue Jays and every other team that is expected to go gently into that good night.

Dreams will come true, and dreams will be crushed. Someone’s time will come and someone’s time will end. Such is life, and such is baseball.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Go Giants!

P.S. The origins of how the Grapefruit League (the spring training league in Florida) came to be named is always worth a read.

Breaking Down the Top 4 Quarterbacks in the 2018 Draft Class-Sam Darnold

Is USC pedigree an asset or liability at this point?

(Art Stapleton/

Sam Darnold’s electric performance in the 2017 Rose Bowl clearly established him as a frontrunner for the 2017 Heisman Trophy and potential 2018 first overall pick. Unlike his southern California counterpart, both in origin and university, Josh Rosen, Darnold is understated and mellow. In contrast to Rosen, who flaunts the California QB cockiness that Aaron Rodgers embraced before him, Darnold is reserved and careful to say the right thing-a major difference from Rosen’s tacit implication that he would rather not go to Cleveland.

Off the field, Darnold presents a very different persona than that of Rosen, who he forever he compared with-but does that really matter?

Scouts love Darnold’s burly frame and big game moxie, giving him that “gamer” feel that old time NFL scouts love.  Darnold is a linebacker at heart, not playing quarterback until his sophomore year in high school due to an injury ahead of him on the depth chart.

While intangibles are great, it’s important to keep sight of what should be evaluated when considering quarterbacks-how well they can actually throw the football.

After lighting the world on fire and staking his claim as the best QB in the country after coming back to beat Penn State in the absolutely thrilling 2017 Rose Bowl, expectations were sky high headed into the 2017 season. Darnold mostly fulfilled them, but Rosen’s excellence and Josh Allen’s raw arm strength combined with a worrying turnover habit developed by Darnold ignited nationwide debates over who deserves to be the number 1 overall pick.

When I see Darnold play, I see a player that has the potential to be a franchise guy, but isn’t quite there yet. The mechanics are a little loose, perhaps too much so for NFL defenses that allow for a razor thin margin of error. His ceiling is Andrew Luck, but he is a ways away from that right now.

Watching Darnold play against an Ohio State defense chock-full of NFL talent in this years bowl game was worrisome. He missed open receivers and looked skittish in the pocket. The guy I couldn’t help seeing was Eli Manning on a bad day. Now, Eli on a good day is a Hall of Famer. But young, inexperienced Eli and the old, washed up Eli can lose you games you should otherwise win.

None of this is to say that Darnold shouldn’t be a top pick in the draft. Eli went No. 1 overall, and absolutely lived up to the billing. But proceed with caution before expecting Darnold to come out the gate and play like Andrew Luck. The USC kid has got talent and experience, but he may be a tad overrated.