For years, the New York Jets have lacked an identity on offense, particularly at Quarterback. Last year, Josh McCown exceeded everyone’s expectations, posting a 94.5 passer rating on top of a 67% completion percentage in 2017. Despite this, however, the Jets were still statistically one of the worst offenses in the league. Before McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick followed up the best season of his career with an entirely too predictable crash back down to earth. And before that, there was the hope in the form of rookie Quarterbacks, Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith. Sanchez had his moments, leading the Jets to back-to-back conference championship games. Smith showed well in a few games but was never able to put together a consistent string of good games.
Notwithstanding the Jets’ recent history of struggles and inconsistency under center, the team has an opportunity in this year’s draft to take a player that will define the offense for years to come. That player is Baker Mayfield.
The Oklahoma Sooner, and Heisman Trophy winner, possesses almost all the traits you would look for in a franchise-defining player. First off, Mayfield is charismatic and extremely confident. Though some might label him “cocky”, almost all great players live somewhere on the border of cocky and confident.
But more importantly, Mayfield is also the most accurate Quarterback entering the draft, and his accuracy is one of the reasons he fits in perfectly with the Jets. While some have suggested that his extremely high completion percentage in Oklahoma might be somewhat soft, Mayfield has an extraordinary ability to make throws into tight windows.
— RAP Scouting (@RAPScouting) January 10, 2018
As we can see above, Mayfield already possesses NFL-caliber accuracy which should allow him to succeed from day one. As Chad Forbes points out, he is almost tailor-made for the Jets offense:
“Jets Offensive Coordinator, Jeremy Bates, is a Shanahan disciple. Hired Rick Dennison to run O-Line. Shift to zone blocking. In Shanahan system, the staple is play action / rollouts off hard zone action. Think about scheme fit and their styles… Baker Mayfield ideal system fit”.
While Baker’s actual play on the field is the most important part about him as a prospect, he is also endowed with all the intangibles needed to succeed in New York. Because of his height, many doubted him along his journey. This doubt has led to Mayfield playing with a chip on his shoulder. In fact, there was a report that Mayfield screenshots all negative reports about him. Some may say that this is childish or unnecessary, but in my opinion, it is part of what gives him the ability to be great. Mayfield is driven to succeed because of all the people that doubted him.
Mayfield is also a natural leader. Almost all reports claim that Mayfield’s former teammates loved playing for him and that he was a leader at Oklahoma University. Coaches and media also took note of how he immediately commanded the practices during the Senior Bowl. Mayfield would become the leader on offense that Jamal Adams is for the defense. Both are true leaders and play the game with “swagger”, exuding confidence on and off the field.
Drafting Mayfield would provide the Jets with a presence and swagger that has not been present in the offense for many years. Mayfield fits in perfectly with the young core of the team, and in my opinion will be the piece that eventually makes the Jets a true contender again.