I’m sure we’re all very tired (or alternatively, very excited) to hear about another connection between the New Orleans Saints and Oklahoma Sooners rookie quarterback prospect Baker Mayfield. Nevertheless, here’s another one: SI.com reporter Robert Klemko today shared his latest update in Mayfield’s path to the draft, including a slate of teams Mayfield will privately work out for on March 14. Naturally that list includes the Saints, alongside quarterback-needy teams like the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets. The Advocate’s Joel Erickson later confirmed Klemko’s report.
All that’s said to express which teams are most-interested in Mayfield’s NFL prospects. The interest from those other teams makes sense: the Browns and Jets are the favorites given their traumatic history with quarterbacks, while the Dolphins could be looking to move on after Ryan Tannehill’s latest season-ending injury. The Saints stand out conspicuously as the only team with a stable situation.
This will be the third time the Saints will have met with Mayfield individually, having previously visited at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile and again at the NFL Scouting Combine. In the story Mayfield describes some of the fifteen-minute interview process he went through with the Saints and other teams:
First, a coach diagrams a play on a white board. He runs down the protection, the routes, the progressions, how to attack a defense in Cover 2, Cover 3 and Man. Then he erases the play and the questions begin. Who’s one teammate you’d like to take to the NFL with you? Tell us about this play in the Oklahoma offense? What’s your drink of choice? What do you plan on running in the 40? At the end of the 15 minutes, Mayfield is handed a marker. Teach us the play.
I don’t want to give the impression that I’m lifting Klemko’s article wholecloth, but there’s one more quote from Mayfield that I want to highlight. This is a brief passage but it does a great job of showing the self-awareness Mayfield feels under the NFL’s spotlight:
“There are a lot of things I would take back, off the field, to be a franchise guy. Not get arrested, not grab my crotch on live television, all that stuff. But the teams that want me to not be who I am? Somebody who’s going to change me mentally and take away my competitive edge? I don’t want to play for you.
“If I was gonna act like anything else, then that wouldn’t be who they’re drafting. So I want to go somewhere where they know exactly who they’re getting, because one of the 32 teams is going to fall in love with it. There’s a fine line between being an arrogant a------ and being a confident kid who believes in his own ability. Some teams, it comes off one way, some teams it comes off another. But I’m glad I had to earn it. Because you’ve got to have an edge.”
Klemko has been trailing Mayfield’s predraft journey all year, and each entry is well worth your time. In order:
- Baker Mayfield Knows What He Does—and Does Not—Have to Prove at the Senior Bowl
- Baker Mayfield’s Hometown Bristles at Manziel Comparisons
- Baker Mayfield’s 10 Potential Landing Spots
- The Last Time Baker Mayfield Was a Rookie
- Darrell Bevell: How Baker Mayfield Compares to Russell Wilson
- Baker Mayfield: The Teammate Interview
- Baker Mayfield at the Combine: The Questions Answered
Personally, I don’t think this is the year the Saints should draft a quarterback highly. They’re so close to a title that it makes more sense to gear up for another push in the last day’s of Drew Brees’ Hall of Fame-worthy career. But if they do see an opportunity to get a quarterback of the future, and if Saints head coach Sean Payton is as big a believer as it’s been said (and seems, based off New Orleans’ continued interest), then I hope it’s Mayfield.