MOBILE, Ala. — During the entire week before Saturday’s Reece’s Senior Bowl, Baker Mayfield was again the most polarizing figure in college football. Perhaps more than the two quarterbacks — Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen — that could be drafted before him.
He’s already scoffed at Chicago’s offer to interview him and promised he could turn around a Browns’ franchise mired in failure for more than three decades.
“They’re getting a winner. They’re getting somebody that’s gonna turn their franchise around. They’re getting somebody that no matter what happens, no matter what anybody else on the outside thinks of that franchise, I’m gonna put belief and I’m gonna put new life into that,” Mayfield said on Friday on 92.3 The Fan’s Bull & Fox Show. “I’ll do everything I can to win. Everything for my team and the coaching staff. They’re gonna get the biggest competitor they’ve ever seen. That’s what I brought to OU and that’s what I believed in.”
Mayfield may have surprised some surprised after accepting an invitation to the Senior Bowl, but he also needed a platform to “prove people wrong and show teams what he’s really like” per a report by Horns247. It could also drastically improve his draft stock.
The week of practices leading up to the game seemingly has.
He found a receiver in OU teammate and San Antonio Churchill alum Demetri Flowers he may exploit an unwilling defense with. He made a believer in both New Orleans’ Head Coach Sean Payton and Denver Broncos’ Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave. Denver General Manager John Elway was reported checking into the Oklahoma-TCU Big 12 Championship game.
That and to dissuade theories about next-level difficulties due to his 6-foot frame and 9.5 hand size — less than an inch smaller than proven quarterbacks like Drew Brees (10.25 inches), Brett Farve (10.38 inches), and Russell Wilson (10.25 inches).
Per a 2016 report by Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman regarding former Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen, the hand measurement for quarterbacks can be crucial at the NFL Combine. A large hand — Feldman stated anything bigger than 9 1/2 inches is large — doesn’t just help with ball security on snaps and with preventing fumbles, there are thoughts it could be crucial when having to operate in inclement weather.
At last season’s Senior Bowl in Alabama, Allen’s hands were measured at 8 1/2 inches from thumb to pinkie, the smallest of any quarterbacks that played in the game. Mayfield would be average in terms of that category. There are a number of small-handed quarterbacks that have excelled, though.
Daunte Culpepper’s hands measured 9.5 inches. Aaron Rodgers is at 9.38. Colin Kaepernick and Tony Romo are at at 9.13 and 8.86, respectively. Culpepper was a better-than-servicable quarterback. Rodgers and Wilson are Super Bowl winners. Brees and Farve are either Hall of Fame members of on track to make it first ballot.
But there’s more than the former Lake Travis quarterback than meets the eye. It’s not only his on-the-fly creativity that could make him more intriguing then all outer signal callers in this year’s draft class.
Brees, a Texas legend in his own right, said Mayfield has an “edge” to him.
“He definitely comes across as a guy who’s got an edge to him. Highly competitive. And, listen, you can tell there’s a chip on his shoulder. You see it. Look at his career, it’ll tell you why,” the Austin Westlake alum told journalist Mike Nabors recently. “You have to develop ways to adapt. It’s that type of guy, based upon his career, based upon the fact that there have been many […] that told him all the things he couldn’t do that’s motivated him [….].”
Mayfield has drawn comparisons to wayward quarterback Johnny Manziel because of his size but, unlike Manziel, is regarded as the fourth quarterback behind Darnold, Rosen, and Wyoming’s Josh Allen.
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