2018 NFL Draft prospect Baker Mayfield has been compared to fellow Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Manziel dismissed the comparisons.
Entering the 2018 NFL Draft, few players have been more divisive than former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has undeniable talent on the field, but he’s come under fire for his taunting nature during the heat of the moment.
The masses have inevitably compared the undersized quarterback with a knack for taunting to one of his fellow Heisman Trophy winners: Johnny Manziel.
Manziel was a revolutionary player on the collegiate scene, becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy award. Unfortunately, Manziel encountered a seemingly endless number of off-field issues that derailed his NFL career.
“Baker is fiery as hell,” Manziel said. “He gets a little amped up on the sidelines. Once you’re on the football field and you do some things that are a little outlandish, like guys do that all the time. Was it maybe a little bit too much? Sure. But at the end of the day, the guy made a mistake, he paid his dues and I think he’ll be better off because of it and he’ll learn from that.
“But I have all the faith in the world in him. I think he’s going to be a really good player, and if anything, people can compare him to me, but he can learn from what I did wrong. He can try and take something that I did and make it a positive for him.”
Manziel has gained unique perspective over the years, and his comments about Mayfield touch upon one of the most significant points of all in this discussion.
Mayfield has questions that must be answered, but the comparisons to Manziel may actually work in his favor. As Manziel stated, Mayfield will enter the NFL Draft process and the league itself with the benefit of hindsight.
Not only will Mayfield be able to figure out what went wrong for Manziel on the field, but he’ll be able to learn from his mistakes off of it.
That’s an undeniable advantage for Mayfield, who can become a better player, leader, and teammate by studying Manziel’s shortcomings.
It’s also worth noting that the concerns surrounding Mayfield and those faced by Manziel aren’t exactly synonymous. Manziel came under fire for his believed drug use and questionable commitment to football, while Mayfield is criticized more for how his passion gets out of hand.
Whether it was a crotch-grabbing taunt or trash talk that microphones happened to pick up, Manziel himself has acknowledged that Mayfield’s transgressions aren’t the same as his own.
So long as Baker Mayfield is willing to learn from his own mistakes and those committed by Johnny Manziel, he should return the focus to his play come the 2018 NFL Draft.