Baker Mayfield is one of the most controversial prospects in the NFL Draft, a super-accomplished college player who is often docked for his size and skillset as well as his attitude. And wherever you have a controversial NFL prospect, you’re bound to have media members throwing around hot takes about him. Mayfield has, for example, been compared to Johnny Manziel, accused of lying about his reasons for showing up late to the Senior Bowl and deemed downright undraftable.
With all that in mind, it’s not exactly surprising that Mayfield feels a bit slighted a month before the draft. Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko followed the quarterback to his taping of an ESPN show hosted by Russell Wilson and learned that Mayfield is maintaining a list of media members whom he thinks have wronged him. Via SI:
Today, Mayfield is keeping a list of the media members who have crossed a line, he says, and he stores screenshots of offending tweets in his phone. All of it serves as motivation when he’s working out alone, he told Wilson.
“At the same time it really doesn’t bother me that much,” Mayfield said of the criticism, “because I know the people that say some of these things have never actually taken a snap behind center, never had a 300-pound lineman about to hit them while they have to read the defense downfield.
“If I was worried too much about it, I’d be worried about the wrong things. But I do use some of it as motivation. I can listen to all the people patting me on the back, or I can listen to the people saying I need to get better. I know I need to get better, or else there would be nobody saying that.”
Mayfield, like many polarizing athletes before him, seems to be adjusting to the reality of having thousands of strangers argue about him at all times, sometimes impugning more than just his football ability. He claims the criticism doesn’t both him, but the fact that he keeps a list suggests it does bother him a little, not that we can blame him.
Given what a lightning rod Mayfield has been pretty much since the moment he planted Oklahoma’s flag at midfield of Ohio State’s stadium last fall, there should be plenty of strong opinions to come. Heisman winner + strong personality + lack of consensus over draft stock + media members looking for ways to be provocative = hot takes and lots of names on Mayfield’s list.