Baker Mayfield gets some major props in latest PFF quarterback ranking

Not everyone is hating on Baker Mayfield heading into the 2024 season
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

With most of the NFL offseason now in the rearview, most attention is being paid on looking at the lay of the land to determine how things will go before they happen.

For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this unfortunately means another year of getting pushed down into the mud by experts. It's not as bad as it was last year but the way the Bucs are already being written off is almost more insulting this time around because of the season they're coming off of.

Rather than have a top pick in the draft, the Bucs marched all the way to the NFC Divisional Round and nearly pulled off an upset win on the road in Detroit. This came after a season in which Baker Mayfield bucked all criticism and proved he was capable of being a franchise quarterback.

Baker earned a three-year deal with the Bucs as a result, but already it seems easy for experts to assume that his success was a fluke, and by extension, Tampa Bay is set up for a down season.

Not everyone is eating from that apple, though.

Baker Mayfield moves up in latest PFF quarterback ranking

PFF's Trevor Sikkema ranked every starting quarterback in the league and had some praise when it came to Baker Mayfield. He ranked Baker No. 20, which is a huge step up from being ranked No. 28 in last year's ranking by Sam Monson.

"Overall, Mayfield was erratic, with 25 big-time throws and 22 turnover-worthy plays. But over the final four games he earned a top-10 passing grade, including an elite Week 15 performance on the road in Green Bay that propelled the Buccaneers to a strong finish and a playoff berth," Sikkema said.

This is very close to what Chris Simms said about Baker when putting together his own quarterback ranking last week. It also marks another break from the trend of picking the Bucs to take a step back this season and fail to live up to expectations that have been set after a phenomenal season last year.

Baker wasn't perfect but he was clearly a reason why the Buccaneers were able to have the type of season they did. It was more than just stuff that shows up in the box score, as his grit quickly became central Tampa Bay's identity and the locker room rallied around him in ways none of the trolls laughing at his signing stopped to think about.

It all ended up being vital to helping the Bucs pull themselves out of a 1-6 midseason slump and finish the year with a third straight NFC South title. Expectations are higher this year, but Baker deserves some flowers for all that he did and the respect that is seems very few are willing to show him.

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