Now time for the flip side of the argument when it comes to Baker Mayfield starting at the quarterback position as a rookie. Here are three reasons the former Oklahoma Sooner star should start for the Cleveland Browns during his first year in the NFL.
3 Reasons Mayfield Does Start As A Rookie
Hue Jackson’s Mindset
At this current point in time, it’s hard to imagine a world in which Hue Jackson, the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, does not start Tyrod Taylor in game one of the season. Yet, over the past two years, Jackson has benched a starting quarterback after becoming disenchanted with them. How many times has that happened over the course of 32 games? Three! Three times Jackson opted for a backup QB in the middle of a game to be exact.
Moving forward, it would not be a shocker to see the same situation play out. The eight year veteran, Taylor may start on day one. But, the quarterback is going to be hard pressed by the playmaking ability of Mayfield at each and every practice. Eventually, Mayfield will be the starter as a rookie with the Browns.
Baker’s Skill Set Allows Browns To Compete
When the spotlight continued to grow, Mayfield proved capable of delivering up to expectations on the collegiate level. Behind the ability to speed read defenses and a high completion rate, the quarterback was the talk of college football last season. Transitioning into the NFL, the rookie will have similar tools around him with which to explore his skill set.
In the backfield, Nick Chubb and Carlos Hyde provide a two headed monster for the Browns. Combine that with a mobile quarterback and it makes play action — Baker’s specialty — a recipe for success. But, we have yet to mention the likes of Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, and Corey Coleman streaking down the field. Accurate deep passes have become a staple of Mayfield’s game. Imagine the damage this group could do when put on the field together.
Unfortunately for Taylor, I simply don’t see the same ceiling. Play Baker if you want to compete for the AFC North. If you’re content with a 3 or 4 win season and another potential No. 1 Draft pick, play Taylor.
It’s What The Fans Want
Over the past several years, fans have clamored at the idea of viable quarterback. Forced to overcome antics and a lack of top tier talent, the backfield is seemingly coming together. The additions of Carlos Hyde and Taylor give the Browns a bit of stability. However, the organization is paying Baker Mayfield $33M during his rookie contract. That makes him the 25th highest paid quarterback in the NFL. How can you select a player No. 1 overall, spend that type of money, then keep this kid on the bench?
Assume that Cleveland struggles — and trust me the Browns will struggle — the outcry from the fan base will reverberate off the wall of the stadium. Roaring chants to play Baker will become the norm inside FirstEnergy Stadium. The money combined with the lack of options will force Jackson to play the rookie as a starter at some point throughout the season. So, it might as well be early on in the year because it’s what the fans are paying to see.