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Buccaneers Baker Mayfield accomplishing something incredibly rar

    • 358 posts
    March 14, 2024 6:16 AM EDT

    As a former No. 1 overall pick in the , is rare in so many ways.He was the first walk-on to be selected with the first pick in the draft. At just under 6-foot-1, he was, at the time, the shortest No. 1 overall pick quarterback in history. He had transferred from one Power 5 school to another before and did it.And he's the rare failed No. 1 overall pick pa ser who didn't quite "bust" with the team that drafted him yet didn't sign a second contract with that club.This season with the , and Zach Kerr Jersey most recently in Week 15's convincing win over the in Lambeau, Mayfield's shown those No. 1 overall pick glimpses from his days in Cleveland, when he gave the juice that's evaded them for decades as a record-setting rookie (touchdown pa ses) and in 2020 en route to a triumphant and sweet playoff win over the . So, like most things with Mayfield, this is not a cla sic, we've-seen-this-before career rejuvenation.It's rare.Now, before I really get started, I will note -- Mayfield has not been for the currently 7-7 Buccaneers in 2023.But what's both striking and encouraging for Tampa Bay this season (and beyond?) is that after a borderline disastrous year in 2021, Mayfield's last with the Browns, then dismal stops in Carolina with the and Los Angeles with the in 2022, he's started to play like Quinton Spain Jersey the fun young quarterback he was at the outset of his career before injuries and organizational dysfunction in Cleveland accelerated his exit from Ohio. It's rare because we normally don't see a rise then a fall then another rise from a quarterback in this league. This is not a or second-act revitalization.This is Mayfield's third act. Or maybe, technically, his fourth. Usually once the NFL has a quarterback figured out and squashes his productivity and confidence as a pa ser, close the curtains. Show's over.And Mayfield did have a lean stretch from Week 3 through Week 7, when he averaged a pedestrian 6.41 yards per attempt with five touchdowns and four interceptions. The Buccaneers went 1-3 in that span and lost consecutive games when Mayfield started his rebound. Since Week 7, Mayfield has 16 touchdowns to four picks, with a respectable 7.45 yards-per-attempt average. He had two contests with a completion percentage under 50%, which served as a reminder of his shortcomings, but otherwise, the Mayfield Bucs have played quality football, winning three of five to even their record and sit atop the lowly NFC South entering Week 16.How has Mayfield done it? First off, he's improved his sack-evading ability, nothing thwarts a Brandon Allen Jersey drive like a sack, outside of a turnover of course.On the season Mayfield's 3.8% big-time throw rate only slightly eclipses his Darius Hodge Jersey turnover-worthy play rate of 3.0%, but his pre sure-to-sack percentage has returned to Good Baker in Cleveland levels. Just 17.7% of the time Mayfield's been pre sured this season he's been sacked, drastically better than his 30.8% pre sure-to-sack percentage on the Panthers and Rams last season and the 29.1% rate in 2021 with the Browns. He's getting the ball out quickly, and a decisive, pocket-pa sing Mayfield is the best Mayfield.Running back been integral to the sack-avoidant endeavor. He's caught 50 of 55 targets in 2023 and has a robust 9.4 yards-per-reception average, which ranks seventh among all qualifying backs. On those catches, White has forced 18 mi sed tackles (!), more than the likes of , , and in those situations.And Mayfield's astutely leaned on his two star receivers -- and , a formidable duo on the perimeter that's been overlooked in the post era yet has been given new life with Mayfield slinging the football this season. Believe it or not, Evans is currently averaging the highest yards per route run (YPRR) in his NFL career (2.46), a hefty number. Incredible, right? Godwin is on pace to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the third-straight season.The Buccaneers are flawed. The defense is as vulnerable now as it's been in years. But their former No. 1 overall pick quarterback is gaining that confidence and pa sing a sertivene s he demonstrated throughout his legendary career at Oklahoma that made him a beloved prospect in the 2018 draft.Rediscovering those things in Year 6, on Trae Waynes Jersey Team No. 4, almost never happens.But "almost never happens" has defined Mayfield's career arc as a football player, so achieving rare feats is where he feels most comfortable, and since late October, he's been right at home in Tampa Bay.