New York Jets and the risks of choosing Baker Mayfield

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Baker Mayfield (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Baker Mayfield (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The concerns about the New York Jets and Baker Mayfield.

The New York Jets would be selecting a very talented player if Baker Mayfield was selected at number three in the draft. There is a reason why he was chosen in last week’s Jets mock draft, authored by yours truly. During his college career Mayfield was as efficient as they come and got better every year, including 43 touchdowns in his final season.

No draft pick is perfect, however. Even Josh Rosen, my personal favorite, has some raising durability issues. There is always something when a player is heading into the draft. If it’s not obvious it can be tracked down. Just because he is a wonderful football player doesn’t mean that Mayfield comes risk-free. He comes with a serious risk, and that risk comes down to one single word.

That word is character.

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The Jets have no choice but to get this pick right. Of course, nobody can predict play on the field. But what CAN be done is to figure out who fits in the best, both on and off the field. The Jets can check all of the boxes to pick the guy with the best chance to succeed.

As far as the biggest elephant in the room, there is his arrest. He was arrested at Oklahoma for public intoxication and fleeing. Mayfield pled not guilty but ultimately was sentenced by the school to community service. By all indications, he did his service and never lost the faith of anyone at Oklahoma.

If that were all, fine. There were also on-field incidents that are concerning. Most of us are aware of this one by now:

Needless to say, this one was not becoming of a guy looking to be a franchise quarterback.

Earlier in the season, Mayfield made the disrespectful gesture of planting the OU flag at the center of the field at Ohio State. The part that is interesting is the timing of the incidents. They all happened in his final year at Oklahoma.

Why is that significant? Well, we know his story about being a walk-on starter at Oklahoma. That is referenced, and rightly so, as evidence that he has worked hard and that nothing has been handed to him. But these incidents extend the Baker Mayfield story just a bit.

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Now that he is recognized as one of the top performers in the country, is Mayfield letting his personality come through? Does he have spunk, or is he arrogant? It is something that has to be considered in this process. These types of incidents could be evidence of a problem. Acting this way will not endear himself to players around the league. Remember when Terrell Owens stood on the Dallas star when he was with the 49ers? He got decked. Mocking opponents and coaches will not go well in New York.

The point is not to stay away from Mayfield. He has the potential to be one fine quarterback at the next level. But if he is the Jets selection, he must understand that the behavior, on and off the field, cannot continue. More of these incidents will get him branded a “same old Jets” pick sooner rather than later.