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Bruce Arians: Baker Mayfield was a better prospect than the QBs in the 2023 draft

Mike Florio and Myles Simmons analyze how far Baker Mayfield can take the Bucs in their first year since Tom Brady retired and discuss how the QB has next to zero expectations.

Former Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians remains involved with the team as the special advisor to General Manager Jason Licht, and Arians believes that the Bucs got themselves a very talented quarterback when they signed Baker Mayfield in free agency.

In fact, Arians said that Mayfield was a better prospect than Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson, the three quarterbacks taken within the first four picks in the 2023 NFL draft.

“I can honestly say out of these four, I had Baker rated higher,” Arians said, via “That’s an honest opinion – coming out [of Oklahoma].”

Of course, highly rated prospects don’t always pan out, and through five NFL seasons Mayfield hasn’t played like a No. 1 overall pick. But Arians believes that had more to do with the environment Mayfield was drafted into than with Mayfield himself.

“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 said.

With Tom Brady retired, Mayfield and 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask will compete to be the Buccaneers’ next starting quarterback. Arians said he likes Trask and, “I think this is going to be a nice battle.”