Simms' Top 40 QBs: No. 24, Baker Mayfield
Chris Simms tells Ahmed Fareed why Baker Mayfield has an elite arm but can't necessarily hit every tight window when the time comes, which puts the Bucs QB at No. 24 in his Top 40 Countdown.
AHMED FAREED: Let's start with 24.
CHRIS SIMMS: 24. That's right, I'm a believer still. Don't give up on this guy, Baker Mayfield, OK? Yeah, what up, Baker? I like the graphics. Good job, EJ and Wyatt, once again. Man, that looks sharp right there.
I think where you start with Baker, right, the biggest thing is-- there's two things. In some of the shittiest situations you can be in the last two years. I mean, yeah, of course Carolina and what they were early in the year, there's a reason they fired their head coach, right? There's that. And then the year before that, gutting it out and playing with an injury, right? Am I right there? Yeah, gutting it out, playing with an injury.
AHMED FAREED: Played through an injury in 2021.
CHRIS SIMMS: And get screwed over by a football team, right? And then also within Cleveland, not maybe necessarily playing in an offense that was incredibly quarterback-friendly either there at that time. So those have worked against him.
But let's not forget this too, all right? Baker Mayfield has an elite arm. It's elite. It's one of the stronger arms in the NFL. Now it's a blessing and a curse. He can make some throws. And wow, oh, my gosh, what a play. Oh, he moved them into field goal position, whatever. And the bad Baker Mayfield is, oh, well, come on, you can't fit it into every tight window, right? Like we talk about with a lot of big-arm quarterbacks. So those would be the two main things, I think, that jumps out to me more than anything. But man, there are still a lot of starting caliber type qualities from Baker Mayfield.
AHMED FAREED: So I want to get into those starting type qualities. But the argument is going to be-- it's like, how good can he be? The Browns traded for Deshaun Watson. And so they got tired of him. He goes to the Panthers. They let him go. He goes to the Rams, and he wins his first game there, which was crazy because he was there for like 15 minutes or some crazy story like that, but then didn't win after that.
And so I think people are ready to be like, enough teams have now moved on that if you think he's now going to be something that he hasn't been the last couple of years, you're just-- it's wishful thinking.
CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, I know. That's why we're here doing this, to apply the context of the situation, right? Yeah, no, that Browns situation, we explained it there. He was injured. He was trying-- hey, he tried to gut it through. We've used it against him.
And then they got in the Deshaun Watson situation and screwed him over. I mean, screwed him over royally, like as much as we've seen a starting quarterback get screwed over in a situation in recent history. Oh, yeah, all the teams have their quarterback. Now we're going to release you and get a new quarterback. Oh, thanks guys, Thanks a lot, right? So that was tough.
Last year, hey, it wasn't good. But when you go back and watch it, you still see a lot of good from Baker. I do. I look at it and go, first off, the offense sucked, OK? Let's just start there. It sucked. The team wasn't very good. The offense wasn't very creative.
AHMED FAREED: We're talking Carolina here.
CHRIS SIMMS: Carolina. And they didn't know what their mantra or how they wanted to attack the game. They didn't know. They didn't know. You know who else didn't look good in Carolina last year that everybody thinks is awesome now?
AHMED FAREED: Who?
CHRIS SIMMS: Christian McCaffrey. Right, so the team matters, right? Christian McCaffrey didn't-- he was running for 20 yards a game on 10 carries, right? What's the matter with him? Why can't he run for 100 yards? Something must be wrong. But we don't ever give the quarterback the benefit of the doubt. You watch that and go, OK, wait, no running game, right? Other than DJ Moore, nobody you're really scared of in the pass game that way, OK?
Pass protection, kind of a young O-line. Their second pick or third pick of the draft, Ekwonu. They were not great early in the year. And then when you start to break it down, too, you start to go, man, he had a lot of drops in Carolina. Like holy crap. I mean, there's a lot of plays and throws where you go, that ball is on the money. That should be a first down. They should be in field goal territory.
No, they're punting the ball now. And now we go, oh, they don't score any points with Baker Mayfield. And it's like, no, Tommy Tremble dropped that. No, Moore dropped this, right? So that's where I'm here, we're here trying to fight against some of the narratives that are out there about him.
AHMED FAREED: So if it goes well in Tampa where he is right now-- and we'll talk about that. And maybe he still has to fend off Kyle Trask. If it goes well for Baker Mayfield in Tampa, in that system, what are we seeing? What are his abilities able to do?
CHRIS SIMMS: I think if he has-- I, first off, think it could be an offense that could fit him, right, pushing the ball down the field a little bit, right? And his ability-- one, like I said, the big arm. The ability to fit the ball in the tight windows. On the run, his arm is equally impressive, where you go, whoa, I mean, that is a big-time throw right there.
What I look at-- and then when you go to the Rams film, right-- and the Rams film wasn't perfect. But when you get into the Rams film, you go, well, here's an offense and a coach that was quarterback-friendly and knows what it's like to play quarterback and doesn't ask him to do unrealistic things and has answers. Oh, when this team brings this blitz, let's check to this. Or you've got to throw the ball hot here, right?
And he took advantage of all those. Those are things he was not applied with in the previous spot. So yeah, it'd be hard. We could put a lot of quarterbacks in Carolina last year, early on in the year, and I'd go, it ain't going to look good, even though they're good, right?
So release is quick, but it's not lightning quick, OK? He does move well in the pocket, just as I go through a few of the attributes. He plays bigger than his size. That's one thing that always jumps out about me with Baker Mayfield. He ain't afraid to stand in there. I don't ever get the sense he can't see down the middle of the field, right? He thinks he's 6'4", 250, and I love that about Baker Mayfield.
We talked about he can get impatient. But for the most part, he's a good decision maker. He is tough. The eyes are always down the field. His ability to run and all that, it's average for this day and age in the NFL. He's not very fast or anything like that.
But I think what you do see is, within an offense that gave him some answers and some rhythm to it, he could execute that. And you saw that, whether it was the Raiders game, his first game there, or the Broncos game on Christmas Day where he was surgical that way. And that's where I still think Baker Mayfield can do those type of things.
AHMED FAREED: So let's take a look at what he looks like in a Bucs uniform. I think we have some video, Kristen, if you're back there. Here he is. OK, here he is throwing. Oh, good completion. 15-yard gain, maybe a touchdown.
CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah. I mean, listen, he's got a great arm. You can see he's got good legs. He can throw the ball. Good catch right there. You can see that he can throw the ball with power with great ease. One thing that you and I have talked about-- and it's right there.
Well, the one thing that you and I talked about before with him is he can have a tendency, because of his big arm-- and I don't know why he does this. He looks for more, right? Remember, we've had this conversation maybe a little more than two years ago where you're like, wait, you're throwing at 102 miles per hour. Why are we digging back to throw at 105 and then lose control of the football? That is something that can trouble him from time to time.
AHMED FAREED: Yeah, it's like when you were talking to Josh Allen about that same thing, about how often do you throw 100 miles an hour? And he goes, maybe once, twice a game.
CHRIS SIMMS: Exactly. Exactly.
AHMED FAREED: And he's got--
CHRIS SIMMS: You don't need to do that.
AHMED FAREED: --one of the strongest arms in football.
CHRIS SIMMS: Your 97-mile-per-hour fastball is plenty strong to hit all the throws and football and then some. So we'll see where it goes. But again, I think it's very fair to think that, one, he's got talent. He's got leadership skills. We've seen him mature in front of our eyes. He wasn't a distraction or anything, even though getting screwed over for the last year and a half. He does bring an edge and leadership to your football team. We know that and we see that.
And then when you drop into that Carolina film a little bit, you see, well, they can't run, they can't protect the ball, and there's a lot of freaking drops, right? And there we are-- everybody telling me McCaffrey is one of the best running backs in football, and I go, well, let's go watch the Carolina film. He doesn't look like it then. But we don't ever give the quarterback any of that benefit, and I can't stand that. And that's why we're here.
AHMED FAREED: If you're wondering whether he does still have that edge, as you just mentioned that he does, he was talking just-- I think it was just a day ago at training camp about the Bucs having pretty bad odds to win the division. Or is it-- I don't even know what the odds are for. But yeah, to win the division, even though they won it last year with a losing record. Here was Baker talking about the odds that Vegas has put on them this year.
BAKER MAYFIELD: I played in this division last year, and I'm pretty sure the Bucs won it still. So I don't really care what the people in Vegas are putting odds on it. Because it's May. We haven't played a real snap of football. There's a long way to go before that. And yeah, it's just the time of year where everybody's pretty bored, and they don't really have much to talk about. And it makes it fun.
AHMED FAREED: What do you mean don't have stuff to talk about? We're doing a top-40 quarterback countdown.
CHRIS SIMMS: It's crucial.
AHMED FAREED: We have a ton to talk about.
CHRIS SIMMS: People can't live without this.
AHMED FAREED: So will he be the starter all year? That's another question out there. Because I think he is battling-- at least that's what they want to portray is that it's a quarterback competition with Kyle Trask, a guy they--
CHRIS SIMMS: I think that's fair.
AHMED FAREED: --drafted, what, in the second round just a couple of years ago.
CHRIS SIMMS: Right.
AHMED FAREED: So this is GoffisTop10 who says, do you see starter potential in Kyle Trask? Do you think sitting behind Brady will be a big impact for his career? So who knows? Do you think we could see Kyle Trask at some point this year beat out a guy like Baker Mayfield?
CHRIS SIMMS: I think it's going to be more of a team thing. I don't think he's just going to beat Baker Mayfield out. I don't. Now to the question there-- and it's a good question-- yeah, I do think Brady will have an impact on his career. I already saw some of that. I feel like Trask has improved his throwing motion, which I did not love coming out.
But one thing I know for sure is that Baker Mayfield is going to have a clear advantage over Kyle Trask throwing the football. Like I said, Baker Mayfield's arm-- there's a reason he was the number one pick in the draft. It wasn't like he was just throwing wet noodles out there. He also, what was it, two years ago, I think, threw the farthest ball in the air out of any player in the NFL, right? That just speaks to-- again, I don't think people realize how explosive that arm is.
But I don't expect him to relinquish that job. I think it's going to be him. The way I see that playing out-- I mean, this is last chance for Baker, in a lot of ways. Like we said, shit or get off the pot time where if it doesn't work out, he will definitely be relegated to a backup position next year, then have to wait for a chance again.
AHMED FAREED: Yeah.
CHRIS SIMMS: He's been gifted this opportunity. But it's a real competition. You know that just because of what they're paying him. But he doesn't care. Because he's looking at it and going, I know I'm better than this guy. I'm going to go get it. Can the team be good enough to where he can show us all that he has to offer?
AHMED FAREED: Yeah.
CHRIS SIMMS: That's going to be the big question.
AHMED FAREED: So you think even though he's in this tier with everyone else, you think he's going to crap. He's going to do his business in that toilet.
CHRIS SIMMS: I do. I think he's going to do that. That's right. That's right. Exactly.
AHMED FAREED: He's not going to leave without crapping in that pot.
CHRIS SIMMS: That's right. It's time to crap, and he's going to do it. He's doing that for sure. That might be the most crazy thing you've ever said on the show, in the history of the show.
AHMED FAREED: Imagine playing that to Baker and saying that's a compliment. We think you're going to take a dump in the toilet.
CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, we think you're going to do it this year.