Column: Broadway Baker or bust

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(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

With the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft Thursday night, the New York Jets have several options. Or at least, that’s what one would think.

Truthfully, the Jets have just one option, and that is to select Oklahoma University quarterback Baker Mayfield with the third overall pick. Sure, I would love it if Penn State running back and generational talent Saquon Barkley fell to Gang Green at No. 3, but even still, I understand what is at stake with this pick.

Trading away the No. 6 pick and three second-round picks to the Indianapolis Colts over the next two years to move up three spots means the Jets cannot come away with just a running back, even if he could very well be a Hall of Famer at the end of his career.

But why Baker Mayfield you ask? Why not one of the other quarterbacks in contention to be Top-5 picks in the upcoming draft?

Well, Mayfield has many of the traits you like to see in a quarterback in the NFL. For starters, he is as accurate as can be, completing almost 70 percent of his passes at the collegiate level. Mayfield can throw the ball on the run quite well, much like a certain Russell Wilson. Additionally, the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner times his throws well and with superb ball placement, according to scouting reports.

Most importantly, however, Mayfield is a winner and has all the intangibles a quarterback needs to be successful in the NFL. He is a leader, brash and confident. Teams hate to play against him and people hate him if he’s not on their team. But if he’s on your team, you’ll run through a wall for him. Mayfield has that strong of a personality, and plays with a chip on his shoulder at all times, likely because he was a walk-on twice in college – first for Texas Tech, second for Oklahoma. He played his way to a scholarship and to a Heisman despite all the people doubting him and he won’t let anybody forget it.

He just has that charisma, the likes of which the New York Jets haven’t had since Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath graced the green and white jerseys. Even Namath, famously nicknamed Broadway Joe, has endorsed Mayfield as a potentially great pick for the organization.

Could Mayfield electrify the city with his personality and play on the field so much so that he earns the name Broadway Baker?

I believe so.

Many of the knocks on Mayfield have to do with his 6-foot-5/8-inch frame, considered short for NFL standards and his personality. But for what he may lack in stature, Mayfield makes up for with his mobility, escape ability, toughness, arm talent and pure instinct. The NFL has seen several short quarterbacks have success over the years. Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, to name a few, are both shorter than Mayfield and are uber-talented, Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks in the league. I think Mayfield will follow that mold and the Jets would be foolish to overlook his talent just because he is an inch too short.

As for Mayfield’s personality, I’ve grown to absolutely love it. As I mentioned earlier, this man is a natural leader. You can see it in the way he carries himself and in the way his teammates respect and admire him. He knows he will beat you, and he wants you to know it, too. If teams are scared off by that level of confidence and pass on him in the draft, then Mayfield will still turn that into more motivation and come out of it with an even bigger chip on his shoulder.

If I’m the Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan, I can’t let that happen. I can’t let Baker Mayfield slip away when he’s there at No. 3, as he is expected to be. The likes of Barkley, Bradley Chubb, Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold are projected to potentially go ahead of Mayfield depending on any one of a number of factors, but if I’m Maccagnan, it’s Broadway Baker or Bust with the third pick in the draft Thursday night.


Chris Hanna is the associate sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu. He tweets @realchrishanna.

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