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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Cardinals reportedly ‘love’ Baker Mayfield, could trade up

Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield is probably the biggest wild card of all the first-round quarterback prospects in this year’s NFL Draft, and he could very well be one of the first players off the board. If that happens, it may be by way of a team trading up.

Peter King published a mock draft in his latest column for The MMQB, and he speculates that the Arizona Cardinals could look to move into the top five because they are so enamored with Mayfield. King lays out a situation in which the Cardinals swap their No. 15 pick for Denver’s No. 5.

I’ve always thought a segment of the Cardinals had regrets over the 2017 draft when, with a 37-year-old quarterback (Carson Palmer) possibly in his last year, they were leap-frogged by teams who took Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson one and three picks ahead of them. Plus, the Cardinals don’t like Baker Mayfield. They love him. That’s a good thing, because John Elway likes him a lot too. Interesting strange-bedfellows scene at the Broncos’ cafeteria during Mayfield’s on-campus visit. Elway sat alone at one table with Mayfield, conversing. Walking through the salad bar at the time: Case Keenum.

In King’s scenario, Mayfield would be the third quarterback taken — behind Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen but ahead of former Wyoming star Josh Allen.

There have been questions about Mayfield’s physical makeup and his attitude both on and off the field, but he’s a Heisman Trophy winner who completed over 68 percent of his passes in three seasons at Oklahoma. His numbers improved each season and he is a fierce competitor, which sometimes came out in negative ways during his college career.

Mayfield is considered somewhat of a risky pick, but you can see from our QB prospect rankings that we feel the Cardinals would do well to snag him. With Sam Bradford basically a bridge option, it would not be a surprise if Arizona gets aggressive in trading up for a potential franchise quarterback.

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