USC quarterback Sam Darnold is reportedly expected to return to school next year, meaning Baker Mayfield may now be one of the top options for any teams looking for a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft.
NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Albright reported Monday that Darnold is “unlikely” to declare for the draft after this season. He also said Mayfield is one of the top “viable” draft-eligible quarterbacks, along with Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and UCLA’s Josh Rosen.
USC source says Darnold is unlikely to leave this year.
Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson & to a lesser degree Josh Rosen your viable QBs.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) October 23, 2017
Mayfield is putting together a phenomenal senior season. He currently leads all of college football in Total QBR (91.9) and completion percentage (73.8).
Darnold had been regarded as the No. 1 quarterback in the draft before his struggles this season. With him off the board, Mayfield’s value is sure to increase.
There has been plenty of debate around the Oklahoma quarterback’s draft stock. ESPN’s Todd McShay has said Mayfield projects as a career backup, while ESPN’s Mel Kiper said he isn’t dismissing the possibility of Mayfield becoming a starter at the next level.
Former San Francisco 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan said last week that he viewed Mayfield as a franchise quarterback and compared him to Brett Favre.
“Tough guy. Oh yeah, he can throw it,” McCloughan said. “And he’s very confident and he’s not afraid whatsoever, whatsoever. He’s a battler. And I know saying Brett Favre is a big name and I was around him for a while, but he’s … this guy has talent.”
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