Kirk Herbstreit: Baker Mayfield Tops Sam Darnold as Draft's Most NFL-Ready QB

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2018

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield throws during a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit rated Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield as the most NFL-ready quarterback in the 2018 draft class Tuesday.

In his "Herbies" awards article for the 2018 NFL draft prospects, Herbstreit expressed his belief that Mayfield is best prepared to play right away ahead of USC's Sam Darnold at No. 2 and UCLA's Josh Rosen at No. 3.

As part of the article, Herbstreit stressed he wasn't saying Mayfield was the best quarterback or the one with the highest ceiling in the 2018 draft, which begins Thursday night.

He did point to Mayfield's experience (48 collegiate games) and his success against defenses loaded with NFL talent (Ohio State and Georgia) as reasons he believes Mayfield could be an immediate NFL starter, however.

Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy last season after completing 70.5 percent of his throws for 4,627 yards, 43 touchdowns and six interceptions.

On Tuesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported an NFL executive told him Mayfield is "definitely" in play for the Cleveland Browns at No. 1 overall.

The Browns are in obvious need of a franchise quarterback, and they will have their pick of Mayfield, Darnold, Rosen and Wyoming's Josh Allen.

Among the other teams selecting high in the draft that could target Mayfield are the New York Giants (No. 2), New York Jets (No. 3) and Denver Broncos (No. 5). Also, the Buffalo Bills (No. 12) and Arizona Cardinals (No. 15) are threats to trade up to take a signal-caller.

Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com reported last week that a source told him Mayfield to the Jets at No. 3 is a "done deal."

The Jets need a long-term answer at quarterback, but they likely wouldn't need Mayfield to start immediately since veteran Josh McCown and the promising Teddy Bridgewater are already on the roster.

In his most recent mock draft, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller predicted Mayfield would go No. 5 overall to the Broncos.

If that happens, he will likely begin as Case Keenum's backup on the heels of Keenum's career year for the Minnesota Vikings in 2017.

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