A man who knows what it takes to be a Super Bowl champion says Baker Mayfield is the worst starting quarterback in the AFC North.
ESPN Analyst and former Patriot Rob Ninkovich ranked the AFC North quarterbacks for this season on Wednesday’s “Get Up!”:
1.) Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens
2.) Ben Roethlisberger – Cleveland Browns
3.) Joe Burrow – Cinicinnati Bengals
4.) Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns
Ninkovich Criticzies Baker
Many football analysts have come out in support of Baker Mayfield in recent days.
Many are confident he will lead the Browns to the playoffs in 2020.
But not Ninkovich:
“(Baker Mayfield) has to show me more. When I watch tape from last year, very inconsistent… He played well against teams that he should have played well against. When there was a test on the line and he had to play against a team like, say, the Patriots. We remember that fumble that he had. That play, in particular, I remember that as pretty embarrassing.”
It’s odd to single out a play against the Patriots for a reason he’s the worst QB in the division.
It’s possible the former Patriot is studying a small sample size, like Patriots games only.
Highest graded second-year QBs in 2019
1. Lamar Jackson
2. Baker Mayfield
3. Josh Allen
4. Sam Darnold pic.twitter.com/ZOalxzqCSx
— PFF (@PFF) February 10, 2020
But it is fair to say Baker was inconsistent last season.
We watched as he threw 21 interceptions and less than 240 yards per game, after averaging 266 yards per game in 2018.
No Optimism In 2020?
We’ve written many articles on the strides Baker has made this offseason.
He’s clicking with new Head Coach Kevin Stefanski and visiting with teammates in virtual meetings.
All signs point to the Browns offense being built around the QB in 2020.
Stefanski’s building a MUCH different offense which is going to suit Baker Mayfield EXTREMELY well with it’s protection & versatility.
LT Jedrick Wills*
RT Jack Conklin^
TE Austin Hooper^
FB Andy Janovich^
TE Harrison Bryant*
* 2020 draft
^ 2020 free agency
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 25, 2020
This was something not truly done in 2018 or 2019.
But Ninkovich needs to see more to believe in the Browns QB:
“Last year, it wasn’t a great outing for him. He had some flashes of greatness but then a lot more of question marks. We don’t know. That’s why he’s No. 4 for me.”
Why Burrow Over Baker?
Joe Burrow had a legendary season leading LSU to a National Title.
His 5,671 passing yards and 60 touchdowns to 6 interceptions ratio will be remembered by college football fans for the rest of time.
But how soon does Ninkovich forget about Baker Mayfield’s Heisman season in 2017?
Highest graded seasons by a college QB
1. Joe Burrow, 2019 – 95.0
T2. Kyler Murray, 2018 – 94.6
T2. Baker Mayfield, 2017 – 94.6 pic.twitter.com/bO20z0k7xk
— PFF (@PFF) April 18, 2020
Mayfield threw for 4,627 passing yards and equaled Burrow’s 6 interceptions.
The Browns QB also has more than 1,000 NFL passes under his belt.
Joe Burrow could end up as a very good NFL quarterback.
But so could Baker Mayfield.
The idea that Baker is old news and Burrow is the new king of the division is unfounded.
They are both mid-20’s.
They are both Heisman winners.
And they are both capable of having great NFL careers.
But if all of those things are equal, for 2020, we’ll take the one with 1,000 NFL passes.
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