In the months leading into the 2019 season, there were plenty of expectations laid ahead for the Cleveland Browns to emerge as one of the top teams in the NFL as potential title contenders. But that hasn’t translated well as the team has fallen almost entirely out of the playoffs picture that has featured second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield struggling to find his way. That has begun to create a narrative around Mayfield that he may not live up to the hype around him, but does that notion already have legitimacy?
Baker Mayfield ‘s struggles in 2019
There was plenty of hope around the Browns heading into the 2019 campaign with them coming off their most successful campaign in years.
Mayfield had been at the forefront of that optimism behind his play that saw him set the rookie record with 27 touchdown passes. It had quickly built up the sentiment that Cleveland may have finally found their franchise quarterback.
However, Mayfield has struggled to find anywhere near that same type of success this year as he has thrown 12 interceptions to nine touchdown passes with 2,201 yards while holding a 59.9% completion rate. More importantly, the Browns have dropped six out of their first nine games that have them on the verge of missing the playoffs entirely.
Things have become quite bleak this season, but it isn’t the first time that Mayfield has been doubted in his football career.
Not the first time Baker Mayfield has been doubted
Before becoming the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Mayfield had an intriguing path at the collegiate level.
He wasn’t widely recruited coming out of high school as he initially began as a walk-on at Texas Tech, where he became the starter in his freshman year due to an injury to the starting quarterback. He left Texas Tech to become a walk-on at the University of Oklahoma, playing his last three collegiate seasons with the school.
Mayfield quickly won the starting job with the Sooners, where he developed into one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. He capped off his collegiate career by winning the Heisman trophy while his play on the field helped elevate him to become the first player taken in his draft class.
There were bumps along the way due to his often questionable decision-making off the field, but Mayfield’s work on it has helped him be in the position to be the starting quarterback for the Browns.
Too early to assess Baker Mayfield?
The start to the 2019 season has been anything short of promising for the Browns as they have fallen well below expectations. Mayfield has been at the center of it all behind his often lackluster play.
However, it’s simply too early to honestly assess the type of quarterback that he is and can be. He has struggled tremendously at times, but he has shown flashes of where he could be a highly productive quarterback. The ultimate telling sign of it all will lie with him being able to guide the Browns to success on the field.
Cleveland has been hindered by inconsistent play, mainly at the quarterback position, for more than the last two decades. The franchise and fan base are itching to finally breakthrough and Mayfield could still be the answer that they have been waiting for at the position.
Throughout his time playing the game of football, he has shown resilience, with which he is being tested again early in his NFL career. It’s now on his shoulders to prove on the field that he can be the franchise quarterback that can finally change the tide in Cleveland.