Bucs' Bruce Arians Absolutely Loves Baker Mayfield (and Other NFL Bullets)

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Buccaneers’ Bruce Arians Absolutely Loves Baker Mayfield (and Other NFL Bullets)


Bruce Arians is an intelligent guy when it comes to football. But, sometimes, wise people say some not-so-smart things. Arians had one of those moments this week. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach said he had new Bucs’ quarterback Baker Mayfield “rated higher” than the big four quarterbacks drafted in last week’s NFL Draft.

  • In a story at PewterReport.com, Arians said that he had Mayfield rated ahead of Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, and Will Levis. “I can honestly say out of these four, I had Baker rated higher,” Arians said on Monday at his Arians Family Foundation gala. “That’s an honest opinion – coming out [of Oklahoma].”
  • Mayfield, a former Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2018, signed with the Buccaneers this offseason. Arians explained that Mayfield’s injuries in Cleveland led to his demise. He even compared him to former Browns quarterback Tim Couch, whom Arians says “was no bust.”

“That’s not chopped liver,” Arians said. “He had a tough time playing hurt and things didn’t work in Cleveland. That happens to a lot of guys. Timmy Couch was no bust. Timmy Couch got broken the hell up in Cleveland. I coached him. Helluva player.”

  • Arians continued to lay it on thick for his new QB, saying that Baker Mayfield has “moxie” and that he loved watching him while he was calling games for CBS before returning to the sidelines in Tampa Bay. “When I was with CBS, I was fortunate enough to do three of his games. Sitting down with him, watching him on Friday practices – because they used to have a lot of two-minute drills in Cleveland, and the D (defense) got after their ass on Friday. I said, ‘I love this kid.”
  • I’m not trying to disrespect Arians, whom I believe is a great coach, but this couldn’t be more of a company line. Baker Mayfield has been in the league for a half-decade, and he’s played for three teams. He hasn’t looked the part with any of them, save for one season in 2020 when he threw for 26 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. The Browns went 11-5 that season. However, I’ve watched Mayfield and never seen what Arians sees in him as a passer. As a person, maybe. I remember watching his post-game hit with the Thursday Night Football crew after his first game with the Rams last season and being impressed with his ability to break the game down. The lights are on upstairs for Mayfield, but he hasn’t consistently translated it to the field.
  • Mayfield will compete with Tampa Bay’s former second-rounder Kyle Trask for the starting QB job in camp this summer. Arians is looking forward to the competition. “And I like Kyle,” Arians said. “I think this is going to be a nice battle – a nice battle. But I love [Mayfield’s] moxie.”

  • Bills safety Damar Hamlin was pictured with Bengals wide receivers Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tyler Boyd on Boyd’s Instagram. The four were riding ATV vehicles. You’ll remember that Higgins was the player that Hamlin was tackling seconds before he went into cardiac arrest caused by commotio cordis after he tackled Higgins during a Monday Night Football game on Jan. 2.
  • Higgins was pretty broken up about the incident after the game and spent the night at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, hoping that Hamlin would pull through. So, seeing Hamlin hang out with Higgins and the other Bengals wide receivers is cool.

  • The Saints and Patriots will join the Bears and Chiefs as teams heading to Germany this season. The NFL will release the 2023 schedule next week, but the leaks have already begun.

  • I wrote about Bijan Robinson and why the Falcons were drafting for the “who,” not the “what,” when they took him at No. 8 in the NFL Draft:

  • I also compiled a list of my favorite steals of the 2023 NFL Draft. First, let’s define a draft steal for the sake of this exercise. A player who was taken well beyond where they were projected to be taken, based on their collegiate performance and the pre-draft process. Who knows what they’ll turn out to be in the NFL. However, right now, we can identify these players as high-value selections, even before playing an NFL game. These are my seven favorite steals of the NFL Draft:

  • Uhm, alright …

  • Tourist pizza …

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.