CB Everett was kind enough to jump out of the WFNY Commentariat and into the byline section as he dives into one of the most intriguing subplots of the entire 2018 NFL Draft. He brings his wit and attention to detail as expected. Enjoy.
I’m no psychological expert, but I’ve taken hundreds of depositions and interviewed probably about 50 job applicants. You sit across from a person and grill them in attempt to weed out the bad eggs, to detect BS, to spot the red flags. Most of all, you make leaping judgments about them as people based on random snippets of their lives and how they present themselves. It’s unfair to project so much based on so little info, but alas, that’s the judgment the Browns FO has to make.
I also know that I know little. And nothing that I know would actually help us determine who “Our Guy” is. None of us do, which is why this exercise in draftnikdom is futile, but fun. In this age of nerdometrics and analytics, spandex combines, and tape measuring of appendages and orifices, some psychological profiling is needed here to find “Our Guy.”
And with that, lady and gentlemen, here is a nominee for future Browns QB draft bust: Baker Mayfield
The psychological profile is unadulterated southern hothead. His redline tendencies are a bit worrisome, not necessarily just because of the offenses he’s gotten himself into (nothing “major” yet), but that he’s stubbornly dismissive of them being character issues, which hinders any maturity.
Comparables: On the pie-in-the-sky upside: Russell Wilson (obviously not on the dickish scale but in terms of talent and drive). He’s got the will to be the playmaker, extending plays, battling. I see a little gritty Brett Favre too, both the gamer mentality, the cockiness, and also the kind of guy who shotguns a beer and then throw the can at somebody. Also, on the lower side, he reminds me of that guy we went to HS with who randomly yells “cup check” and punches your unsuspecting buddy in the junk.
I do keep coming back to Favre and Manziel southern cocky gunslinger spectrum, looking for possible parallels. Farve rubbed coaches the wrong way as a rookie in Atlanta (bucking them, disrespecting rules, failing to put in the time, partying, etc), and then of course famously got it together in Green Bay. We all know the Johnny path. Yes, comparisons can be dangerous, as every man is different in his own, but red flags on prior guys need to be heeded on some level.
1. The incidents as a Sooner obviously are a red flag. Are they the deeds of a hothead college kid, or are past misdeeds instructive–the general indications of a guy who has maturity and self-discipline issues?
First, he’s the guy who uncontrollably planted a flag in an opponent’s home field (or attempts to plant a flag in artificial turf). On one hand, he was caught up in the biggest win of his life (and avenging a big loss the year before) and let emotions carry over to post game. But he played a great game, and clearly his emotions fired him up in a positive way to a big upset of our dear Buckeyes. On the other hand, he had perceived (or misconceived) the Buckeyes had disrespected his team a year prior after beating them in Norman because they sang Carmen Ohio on the field afterwards. Baker Mayfield had a year to figure out that the Buckeyes have been doing this forever, since his great great grandpappy days, and even if he believed the act to be disrespectful, he had a year to mature and not act in kind. Instead, he met perceived disrespect with trashy disrespect.
Next, the arrest. Any news story of an arrest has to be a concern, especially when it starts out: “Wearing a gray, soy-sauce-stained hoodie, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield stood in handcuffs in front of a Fayetteville (Ark.) police car in the early hours of Feb. 25.”
Ultimately, he was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and fleeing. Basically, there was much intoxication, leading to reports of profanities, a fight, police on the scene trying to calm him down, a fleeing on foot until police subdued him (note: if you can’t outrun Arkansas po-po, that’s not good for your draft stock), and yada yada yada, here he is in mugshot form without his soy-soaked gear.
Again, we have the classic: Is he an overserved college athlete who did a dumb thing, or is this indicative of other issues: not controlling his intake; getting in off the field altercations; not being able to control chopsticks?
He’s also crotch grabbed, which is slightly more offensive than Johnny Footballish flipping birds on the obscene gesture scale. It’s sports, so we try not to be sanctimonious, but again, it was a trashy move, and something we shouldn’t completely ignore.
I suspect character wise, we haven’t seen the last of “things” from Baker. Whoever ends up getting him will also have to damage control something in the future. I don’t see any major misdeeds (other than the one drunken disorderly), but who knows where bad judgment and self-control issues swirl with greater money, power, and freedom. Likely, he’s too much of a competitor and gamer that he’ll want to be on the field and doesn’t want to jeopardize his chances of winning. I think his character issues will more of the minor but persistent issues. He’s inevitably going to get into some fan run in. He’s going to say something loose to the press in the heat of a moment and cause PR issues. He’s going to do something (or several somethings) stupid on the field to cost his team penalty yards or a game.
2. Trust. Not sure I do. On one side of his mouth, he’s dismissive of the past, as obviously he does want to minimize that factor. On the other hand, he is playing a bit of the “I’m a changed man” card. “Yes, sir. Absolutely. I’ve learned my lesson. I can honestly say I’m a changed man, I’m no longer a danger to society. That’s the god’s honest truth. No doubt about it.”
So, what is it: You’re admitting you were a stupid kid, but now you’re a grown man? Or you’re saying that’s who I am, the good and the bad, so accept it?
Yes, I will give you that he’s convincing and persuasive, due to the admixture of confidence and charm. However, this smacks too on the nose with Johnny Flicking Football. Lest we forget, man-boy Johnny was awfully persuasive as well.1
You know when you’re talking to a salesman, and you’re not just generally aware you’re being sold as we all are in the moment….you’re a little TOO aware you’re being sold? That’s how this feels, like we’re getting played here, like there’s too much spin. I’m just afraid that when he’s done and he cons us into drafting him, he’s going to cackle, walk down the hallway winking at Jimmay, and punch that nerd Paul DePodesta right in the balls. Suckers. Again.
3. Misc. Factor: He non-ironically wears a do rag/bandana. That doesn’t help with the trashy concern. Axl Rose wore one. I recall that Gerardo of Rico Suave fame did as well. Also, Steven Van Zant, Tupac, and the Hulkster. The conclusion: None of them were NFL caliber QBs. Then again, all could have been better Browns QBs than we’ve had. So, it’s tough to say.
I just suspect that in his private life, Baker has a stars and bars bandana somewhere, and that his jacked up pickup has the requisite Calvin sticker. I guess I don’t like the stylistic cut of his jib.
1. Star presence: He doesn’t lack confidence…his cup runneth over with it. He knows himself. He’ll command attention. He’ll tell it like it is. He’s not afraid of the big moments (played well against Georgia in the Rose Bowl). He’s a guy who I probably want most with 4th and goal at the 5 yard line with 10 seconds to go, as he won’t shrink in the spotlight.
2. He’s a fighter. Yes, that might be the type of thing that lands Baker Mayfield in a post-bar crawl mugshot or a Mayfield clan Thanksgiving dinner where his Uncle Joe gets stabbed with that big two-pronged turkey fork. But hey, that fighter mentality is his motor on the field. He moves around well and keeps plays alive. He’s obviously not blessed with size, but yet has a strong arm. And how can that be? Heart. Pure heart. Gritty gutty heart of a fighter. Maybe he is Our Guy?
Look, he played hard as hell during the Rose Bowl against a superior Georgia team and lost in a tough double OT finish. He fought to keep them in the game, and in an emotion post-game interview, cried. So I guess what I’m saying is that he’s a huge baby, and we should avoid him.
The talent, which I’ll leave for better folks to analyze, is there. No doubt. He plays with his heart on his sleeve, which as we have seen is good and bad. But I think he lacks the maturity and self-discipline needed for the job. It will lead to bad judgment, perhaps on the field, off, or both. He isn’t the face of the franchise, which is what you want with a top pick. He’s, for sure, worth a flyer if we’re talking late first round, but that’s not where we’re at, or want to be in finding Our Guy. OG will apparent, a Norse God incarnate, surrounded by a glowing white light. Or at least won’t be a dirty hotheaded gunslinger wildcard type.