The Cleveland Browns selected quarterback Baker Mayfield at No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Mayfield’s 2018 season will be a rough one.
On April 26, the Cleveland Browns shocked the NFL world by taking Baker Mayfield first overall, despite reports that indicated he wouldn’t be their guy. Before that day, and well before the 2017 college football season, no one expected Cleveland to take an undersized quarterback with poor arm strength and little experience in a pro style offense, but here we are.
An enormous hole was dug by the management of the Browns over the last few seasons. From new executives to players being traded or cut after two years, Cleveland has lacked the ability to retain any young developmental talent.
Mayfield will be the next on this list.
He fits the mold perfectly. He performed extremely well in college, is a proven consistent winner, but has very limited physical traits. The Browns bet on Mayfield being able to grow into their franchise quarterback, but he lacks the tools necessary to do so.
While Hue Jackson claims Mayfield is on schedule in his development, he will not even be close to ready to light the league on fire in 2018. Because of the addition of veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor, do not expect a Mayfield appearance until after Week 10.
The 2018 season for Mayfield will be a bumpy one. He does possess rare elusiveness and escapability in the pocket, making his playmaking ability his strongest attribute. Mayfield was miles ahead of most other first-round quarterbacks in this category.
In his limited playing time next year, there will be plenty of highlight reel touchdown throws, jaw-dropping sack evasions, and potentially even some fourth quarter comebacks.
Playmaking, however, is not enough to win football games. Browns fans should expect a significant amount of growing pains. There will be ill-advised interceptions. There will be forced throws into tight coverage.
And there will be a lot of confusion during play calling and reading the NFL defenses in front of him.
Statistically, his throwing numbers will be a bit inflated. From a trade with the Dolphins, the Browns brought in a young and talented Jarvis Landry, and he will be bailing out Mayfield quite often.
While the times when Mayfield will wow the crowd will excite fans for the future, you do have to remember how stunted he is by his physical traits, and the team he is playing for.
His 2018 could look a lot like Johnny Manziel‘s rookie year: Plenty of excitement, but too much disappointment.