With the draft approaching, former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield isn’t shying away from the spotlight. And he’s not afraid to point out things that bother him.
Pet Peeve No. 1: Comments about his height.
“It angers me when people say that height actually matters, because there’s guys in the NFL that prove it day in and day out that it doesn’t,” Mayfield told Steve Serby of the New York Post in somewhat lengthy Q&A. “If you can pick up and throw a ball, you can. And if you can win games, you can. So a lot of that stuff that people used to think mattered a lot, those measurables don’t exactly [matter] anymore. It’s about winning games and getting your teammates to play hard.”
Mayfield also has a problem with people passing judgment on him without all relevant information.
“People want to put an image on me that they obviously don’t know me,” Mayfield said. “If you never sat down to have a conversation with me, then you probably don’t understand why I’m so competitive, why I do the things I do. I always had a chip on my shoulder because I’ve had to earn everything. If you think me being cocky is because I’ve been handed things that I’ve been spoon fed, you’re absolutely wrong. I’ve had to earn it.”
Mayfield also isn’t bashful about reacting to actual or perceived slights on social media. In response to a comprehensive evaluation from Bucky Brooks of NFL Media, Mayfield took to Twitter to say this: “Actually a well written piece. . . . But you left out the most important thing in football . . . that one thing called winning. People forgot [to] mention that with my man [Deshaun Watson‘s] game last year.”
The concept of #winning has become a hot-button issue when it comes to the question of evaluating quarterbacks. Plenty of bad quarterbacks win because they have plenty of great players around them. Plenty of good quarterbacks lose because their teammates simply don’t collectively have what it takes to compete.
The real question is whether a quarterback has the ability to make his teammates better, by creating the same kind of relationship with his fellow players that they have with their coach, causing them to listen, follow, seek approval, and show respect to the quarterback.
One man can’t make a bad team into a winner. But a quarterback who is a great leader can help his team win in ways other than throwing passes. Is Mayfield that kind of guy? That’s one of the things that 32 teams will be trying to find out.