Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield caught fire in the second half of the Sooners' impressive win at Ohio State on Saturday night. OU trailed 13-10 late in the third quarter, but Mayfield fueled a rally that resulted in a comfortable 31-16 victory. I had a chance to watch his performance, and after studying a few of his games from 2016 this summer, this was my first look at him this season. He fully embraced the big stage and played really well against a very talented Buckeyes defense.
Here are five takeaways on the senior QB, who completed 27 of 35 passes for 386 yards and 3 TDs (all TDs in the second half), coming out of the game:
- If you've already labeled Mayfield as a good college QB who doesn't necessarily fit in the NFL, you need to reconsider. The jury's still out on what he's going to be at the next level, but it has to be an ongoing evaluation.
I don't think he's going to be for everybody, but he only needs one team to fall in love with him. There are some offensive coaches in the NFL who'll see that Mayfield can work through progressions quickly, has a quick release, is a good athlete and looks like he has enough arm strength. You can work with that.
- Mayfield's quickness jumped out to me more than anything else on Saturday night. In addition to his quick release, he has quick feet. He was making quick decisions, and he was reading the entire field. He used his elusiveness to get out of trouble and threw very accurately on the move.
- There's still going to be some development to take place for Mayfield when he gets to the next level, but I left this game encouraged by the fact that he has a little more giddy up on his throws than I thought he had. There was a lot of pressure on him from Ohio State's front, and he made some NFL throws.
Now, he underthrew a couple deep balls. That's still an area to work through. I'm looking forward to getting a chance to see him throw live because you can never gain a full appreciation for someone's arm strength until you see him in person. He showed a little more velocity than I thought he had, but I need to go see it for myself.
- I wrote in the summer that Mayfield was a better version of Colt McCoy, and the same comp came up when I recently asked 5 NFL execs for their Mayfield comp. However, if last night was any indication, he's so much more explosive than McCoy, both as an athlete and a thrower. I'll be revisiting my comp for him as the season progresses.
- Mayfield's getting a lot of attention for something he did after the game. The OU QB planted the Sooners' flag in the middle of Ohio State field after the victory, which isn't sitting well with some folks. Mayfield apologized for his actions on Monday. I think some old-school scouts will be bothered by his decision to plant the flag. Every team wants their QB to have a steady hand and be even-keeled, but I've seen too many emotional guys have success at the next level. He was fired up, and I wouldn't dock him any points for it.