Of course I have to start with Oklahoma’s polarizing Quaterback Baker Mayfield. Although Mayfiled’s Sooners lost in the BCS Playoff to Georgia, the loss had more to do with the Oklahoma’s horrendous run defense. Although Mayfield was left with a sour taste after the loss, his play against a really good Bulldogs team will be a focus of NFL Scouts and GM’s. Mayfield finished his college career with an astounding 12,292 passing yards with 119 TD’s to only 21 ints, which doesn’t include the 2,315 passing yards and 12 TD’s he threw for Texas Tech in 2013 before transferring. Baker seems like a perfect fit for Jay Gruden’s offense, but the chatter of his small stature remains an issue. Oklahoma lists Mayfield at 6’1 209 lbs, but many in NFL circles believe he could be measured as small as 5’11. Height is import when it comes to throwing check downs in the pocket, but Baker has shown that height doesn’t limit is playmaking ability. I’ll have a lot more to say when all is said and done regarding the Sooner QB, but will he fall to the Redskins at the 13th overall pick?
Another QB I enjoyed watching film on this week was W. Kentucky’s Mike White. The small school prospect definitely looks the part, coming in at 6’4 225. I don’t know how Skins Fans will feel about White’s QB coach at WKU though. The spawn of the Old Ball Coach Steve Spurrier helped White become a clutch QB. Spurrier’s son really helped White develop his football IQ, per the QB’s recent comments. White can certainly sling the ball and threw for 4,177 yards with 26 TD’s in 2017, on a bad WKU team. He showed decisiveness, poise, accuracy and leadership during his time at WKU. His ability to avoid pressure and make plays with his feet are underrated. I’ll say it again, the talent in this draft will push second day quarterbacks like White into the 3rd and 4th rounds. Although waiting to the late rounds to get a QB could be a big risk, if Cousins leaves for Free Agency.
A player I’m absolutely enamored with is Washington University DT Vita Vea. He’s been compared to Haloti Ngata, who also is around 6’5 340. What the Husky shares in common with the All Pro is his quickness and strength. That’s high praise, but also being an Academic All American shows he’s not just an mindless space eater. Most players at his size usually are tasked with only taking up double teams, but Vea is a lot more than that and is an every down lineman in my opinion. Vea finished the year earning nearly every reputable PAC- 12 record, most notably earning the PAC-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year Award. The Husky didn’t blow fans away with his statistics, finishing his three year career with only 9.5 sacks. Sacks isn’t what Vea specializes in though, the massive Samoan specializing in forcing QB’s and RB’s into making bad decisions. His strength is off the charts per his coaches and teammates, so the combine should be telling. The thought of pairing Vea with John Allen, Matt Ioannidis and Anthony Lanier gives me chills! The Kirk Cousins Circus will determine if the Skins go the defensive route with the 13th overall pick, but if Vea is available they need to strongly consider selecting him.
The final B&G Report Early Prospect to watch this week is Boston College OLB Harold Landry. The 6’3 250 lbs Linebacker had his breakout season in 2016 when he registered 16.5 sacks, 1 INT, 7 forced fumbles and registered an eye popping 22 TFL’s. He was named to the First Team All ACC roster and was also awarded All American Honors. His Senior season is when opposing teams showed him more respect and focused on chipping Landry, as well as double teaming him on a consistent basis. This effectively took Landry out of some games and he sufferd an ankle injury, which led to him missing four games in 2017. In only 8 games as a Senior, Landry still registered 5 sacks and 8.5 TFL’s. That’s still an impressive stat line, on a year that was cut short by injury. The bottom line is Landry played in a sub par Boston Defense, which runs a predictable rush scheme. In Washington Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky could use Landry as his Third Down Rush Specialist, moving him up and down the line to create mismatches. Landry is similar to Redskins FA to be Junior Galette, but has longer arms and a thin injury history. If the Boston College Pass Rusher is sitting there when the Skins make their first selection, he has to be an option to boost their pass rush. Although Preston Smith came on late, he’s inconsistent and the Skins still desperately need a pure pass rusher across the line from Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan.