By: Logan Franz
In the NFL, the hope for teams that draft a rookie quarterback is growth in his rookie year.
Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield is doing just that- albeit at a slow rate. He is definitely the best quarterback the Browns have had in a long time.
Mayfield’s first start -a loss to Oakland Sep. 30- raised many concerns. He left throws on the field, staring down his first read and turning the ball over all of which are things you don’t want to see. Nonetheless, Mayfield’s ball placement is better than other quarterbacks from this draft (aside from maybe Arizona’s Josh Rosen). He puts the ball where only his receiver can get it, and will throw receivers open. However there were plays where he stared down his first read, and miss open receivers. Mayfield went through his progressions, but often, the offense seemed to run like a quick-strike offense, and if the first read wasn’t there, it was utter chaos.
This changed with Mayfield’s second start on Sunday, a win over Baltimore. Oddly enough, Mayfield played better against a less forgiving defense. He wasn’t perfect but looked a lot more polished from the first start the week before. He completed 25 passes on 43 attempts for 342 yards, one touchdown and one interception. It’s unclear who’s to blame for the interception; there looked to be miscommunication between Mayfield and his receiver about which route the receiver was running, and a Baltimore defender was nearby there to pick it off.
Obviously, it’s a small sample size, and Mayfield will not look like a Pro-Bowler right away, but his start is promising for Cleveland. Mayfield is showing growth from one game to the next. He needs to keep turnovers to a minimum- a common issue for rookie quarterbacks- but it’s been many many years since the Browns have had a quarterback they can count on, and now finally seems like they have found just that.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org