QuarterBack ~ Baker MayField ~ Oklahoma Sooners ~ 6000/210
But I believe not only that Pocket Passing remains the Heart & Soul of successful QuarterBacking, but that the capacity of Speed QuarterBacks to master Pocket Passing can be and often is crippled by the Siren Song of Scrambling: A QuarterBack who has always had that "out" is far less likely to develop the skills that really matter.
Power QuarterBacks ~ The Men with the Golden Arms ~ are equally susceptible to falling Prey to the seductive allure of their own physical Talent: The more powerful their Cannons, the more likely I believe it is that they persistently depend upon that crutch as a Get Out Of Jail Card, and thus fail to develop a more comprehensive Skill Set.
And thus I perceive a Great Irony, one that continues, astonishingly, to elude most: The more explosive a Scrambler that a QuarterBack is, or the more powerful an Arm he boasts, the less likely that he is to achieve Greatness.
Conversely, it's the boring guys who consistently Move The Chains that give you the best Chance to win.
After New Year's Day, when The Only Games That Really Matter are played, History has been relentlessly savage to Power QuarterBacks and Speed QuarterBacks who failed to develop their Games: Once the weaker Teams have been eliminated, the PlayOff Defenses have invariably proven far too much for The Unprepared.
And if you're not prepared to compete after New Year's Day, why play at all??
In consideration of these thoughts, which, like many of my thoughts, fly in the face of what is amusingly considered to be Conventional Wisdom, this is how I break down the Criteria that I focus on, when evaluating QuarterBacks:
1 ~ Processing Speed
2 ~ Precision
3 ~ Pocket Presence
4 ~ FirePower
Processing Speed or Diagnostic Velocity is about how quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape. It's crucial at all 22 Positions, but utterly vital for a QuarterBack to succeed...or to even survive. Reading Coverages, working through Progressions, and selecting the best Receiving or Running Option.
Precision speaks above all to Mechanics: A QuarterBack's consistency with his Stance, his Set Up, and his Delivery. I refer to consistent Accuracy in the Short & Intermediate Zones, where the best Offenses all make their Bread & Butter. In breaking it down, I'm looking at Timing, Touch, and Trajectory: Leading Receivers to DayLight.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure is about Poise, or how one's Processing Speed and Precision stand up Under Pressure, and about one's Temporal & Spatial Instincts in navigating an often chaotic Pocket.
FirePower is a Category that I value, though not as much as others. I refer to Velocity and to DownField Precision, which I don't consider as crucial to Success as Short & Intermediate Precision. DownField Precision makes for tremendous HighLight Footage, but it's Short & Intermediate Precision that Moves The Chains and wins Championships.
Please note, if you will: I don't list 40 Speed among crucial Attributes at all.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Please Note: This is entirely about how rapidly the QuarterBack scans the Field and makes successful Decisions.
* Many College Offenses feature simple Offenses that make this challenging to evaluate.
* It is, nevertheless, far and away the most crucial Aspect of QuarterBacking.
* Accuracy ~ Placement that maximizes the Receiver's Advantage and minimizes that of the Defender.
* Timing ~ Being temporally In Sync with the Receiver. The Ball arriving precisely when the Receiver does.
* Touch ~ The right Speed for the right Play. Only throwing FastBalls when FastBalls are warranted.
* Trajectory ~ Being spatially In Sync with the Receiver ~ enabling him to catch the Ball In Stride.
* Processing Speed Under Pressure.
* Precision Under Pressure.
* Spatial & Temporal Instincts.
* Velocity, irregardless of where he's throwing it: How fast is'is FastBall?
* DownField Precision ~ can he through the Bomb accurately?
MayField plays in a classic Easy Read/Quick Strike ShotGun Spread Air Raid Offense, which of course jacks up his Statistics while providing very little Training in the Drop Back & Read The Field kind of QuarterBacking that he's almost certainly gonna need to learn and ultimately to master if he's ever going to succeed at the next level.
Such Offenses not only offer little in the way of developing Processing Speed and Field Vision, but little Footage from which to effectively evaluate the Prospect's current level of Skill in that regard...Yet MayField's capacity to consistently keep up, mentally, with the entire chaotic Tactical LandScape, and to respond effectively, is crystal clear.
Precision: Exceptional. And again I am moved to comment: Grading by the Inches, I'd bump that Grade up, as well. Shorter QuarterBacks usually fail to succeed at the next level, simply because their Height is such an enormous Liability in attempting to pass the FootBall over ~ or, out'f Necessity ~ around Defenders that're taller than'm.
But Drew Brees and Russell Wilson have proven that it can be done.
And MayField exhibits a remarkably rapid and effective understanding of Geometry and Physics in a 3 Dimensional Tactical Environment, such that he is consistently able to find the right spot from which to throw and the right angle to throw from. And he does so effectively from all over the BackField, manifesting exceptional Timing, Touch, and Trajectory.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Tremendous. He's very tough, yes, but there are a couple of other Elements of MayField Game in this Aspect of FootBall that I consider to be absolutely outstanding.
The first thing is that when Chaos erupts he always retains complete Command not only of himself, but of his entire Team. On several different Plays that I watched, he would direct a WideOut to change his Route while MayField himself was running for his own Life to buy Time to let that Change develop, or he would direct an HalfBack to break off his Route to come back and block because MayField was pulling the Ball down and running. That's FootBall, of course, but what impresses the Shit out'f me is how good MayField is at it: at moving 11 Chess Pieces around Under Fire.
And the second thing is how incredibly fast his mind is at effectively processing Information in a Chaotic Tactical Environment. I watch this kid play, and I swear I can hear the wheels turning. Humming.
There was one play in the Game against the Houston Cougars where MayField pump-faked, burst UpField a few Yards as if to run, paused...and then burst back into the Pocket and then continued to evaluate the Field of Battle.
It's hard to convey what I saw in that Play and in oh so many like it, but I'll try: His Body Language on that Play wasn't that of a kid who's freaking out, changing his Mind repeatedly, and panicking. His Body Language was that of a kid who's processing Information so rapidly that he's able to change his Mind repeatedly, based on the Data he's speedily diagnosing, and then simply continue to crunch Data at a blistering pace while conducting his Business.
Frenetic. Not frantic.
FirePower: Impressive. Not much Arm Power to work with, yet remarkably effective at hitting his WideOuts In Stride way DownField. And he shows adequate Velocity on the Short & Intermediate Throws.
I promise you that I initiated my Research fully expecting to lay a 7th Round or UFA Grade on MayField, and you can be damned sure not only that the Transition from Air Raid to Pro will be a tough one, one that translates to Risk.
And whether or not he ever gets a genuine Opportunity to play is in Doubt.
But Processing Speed trumps all.
And Baker MayField's Processing Speed is special. His capacity to rapidly read and react to the Tactical Environment, to not only see the entire Field and the other 21 Warriors running around, despite being surrounded by Goliaths, but to process what he's seeing so effectively, so consistently, and with such evidently blistering Speed is phenomenal.
That makes all the Difference in the World.
And he is outstanding at consistently overcoming his Height Liability in getting Passes over or around Defenders.
And in case anyone is wondering if I get my impression of MayField's capacities from the wild and wonderful 66-59 ShootOut with the Texas Tech Red Raiders in October, yes I did watch that Tape...But that was only after watching the Tape of the Sooners's Opening Day Loss to the Houston Cougars, a Loss for which MayField reaped his Head Coach's Criticism and for which he did in fact blame himself, while declaring that his WideOuts were getting open.
Baker MayField is a Natural Born Leader, and a Natural Born Field General. To me, it's crystal clear that he is blessed with the mental Talent ~ the Diagnostic Acuity and Processing Speed ~ to routinely anticipate Changes in the Tactical Environment a split second before they develop...and the Command to seize Full Advantage.
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would be virtually possible.
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!