Baker Mayfield has led Oklahoma to a 12-1 record, a Big 12 title and College Football Playoff berth. His performance this season has also possibly led him into the first round of the NFL Draft.
In ESPN draft expert Todd McShay’s first 2018 NFL mock draft (ESPN Insider subscription required), he has Mayfield going 19th overall to the Los Angeles Chargers. McShay suggests the Charges might go with Oklahoma’s star offensive tackle Orlando Brown instead, but Brown goes at No. 25 to the Carolina Panthers.
Here’s what McShay wrote on Mayfield to LA:
“This is a good time for the Chargers to take a successor to 36-year-old Philip Rivers. Los Angeles passed on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson last draft, but Mayfield is too intriguing to pass on here. Perhaps no prospect has improved his stock more in 2017 than Mayfield, who was my ninth-ranked QB coming into the season, with a midround grade. The Heisman winner is an exceptional leader and could play himself into the first round with a good showing in the College Football Playoff.”
Mayfield is the No. 4 quarterback on McShay’s board. He is behind USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Wyoming’s Josh Allen, all of whom McShay has as top-5 picks.
Spending a couple of years learning under Rivers could prove to be an ideal scenario for Mayfield. Rivers has started every game for the Chargers since 2006, providing durability and excellence Mayfield would be fortunate to mimic. The idea of Mayfield being near Hollywood is exciting, as well.
As for Brown, he’s the third offensive tackle and fourth offensive lineman on McShay’s board. Here’s what McShay wrote about the unanimous All-American:
“I think he might be better suited at RT in the NFL. He has tremendous talent but will benefit from shedding some weight and improving his foot quickness. He would give Carolina some insurance for Matt Kalil.”
Mayfield and Brown have established themselves as premier college players. They will get the chance to do the same at the next level.