Could Baker Mayfield go from Heisman Trophy winner to Tom Brady’s heir apparent?
The New England Patriots have shown interest in the former Oklahoma quarterback ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft, according to a report by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
“A few teams in the top 10, including the Jets, are fully aware of the Patriots’ affinity for Mayfield,” Mehta wrote Thursday.
Mayfield is part of the upper echelon of 2018 quarterback prospects along with Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Sam Darnold, all four of whom would have been far out of the Patriots’ draft range until recently. But after trading wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday in a deal that netted New England the 23rd overall pick, the Pats have the necessary assets to trade up for a top-tier QB if they so choose.
There is no consensus leader among that quarterback group, but all four likely will be drafted in the top 10. The Patriots’ need at the position isn’t as dire as, say, the Cleveland Browns’ (picks No. 1 and 4), the New York Giants’ (No. 2) or the Jets’ (No. 3 following a trade with the Indianapolis Colts), but with Brady set to turn 41 in August, it would be very surprising if they did not draft his potential successor this year.
Mayfield was electric under center for the Sooners in 2017, completing 70.5 percent of his passes for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns with just six interceptions. His collection of postseason accolades included the Heisman, the Maxwell Award, the Davey O’Brien Award and recognition as the Big 12’s Offensive Player of the Year.
The Patriots currently own four of the top 63 selection in the 2018 draft, which will be held later this month in Arlington, Texas. ESPN’s Adam Schefter expects them to use a high pick on a quarterback, though potentially enticing options like Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta should be available after the first round.