After also drafting running back Nick Chubb the same year, then adding wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., suddenly there were also high expectations for the Browns going into the 2019 season for the first time in what seemed like forever.
But things never really panned out for Mayfield or his team, and the Browns decided to move on from him.
Despite all the frustrations about Mayfield and his outsized personality, he still has talent, and it is still possible that he could at least somewhat flourish in the right situation.
Would a team in the market for a new QB be better off taking a flyer on Mayfield than taking one in the upcoming draft?
Mayfield Has Flashed His Potential
So far in his career, it hasn’t been all bad for the Oklahoma product.
He did well as a rookie, putting up 3,725 passing yards in 14 games (13 as a starter) while setting an NFL record by throwing 27 touchdown passes (the record has since been broken by Justin Herbert).
god i miss rookie year Baker Mayfield pic.twitter.com/DA5lwkGl7c
— 𝘿𝙤𝙢 🧸 (@WatsonBetter) December 14, 2021
His best showing came in 2020 when he had 3,563 passing yards and 26 touchdowns while helping the Browns to an 11-5 record.
Turnovers had been a problem for him in his first two seasons, when he threw for 14 and 21 picks, respectively.
But in 2020 he got that number down to eight, and not coincidentally, the situation in Cleveland improved.
In the opening round of the playoffs against Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mayfield shined bright with 263 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Baker Mayfield hasn’t had to do much tonight, but that was a perfect drive before halftime. Crushed any momentum the Steelers had.
— TJ Eckert (@TJEckertKTUL) January 11, 2021
The Browns won, 48-37, giving them their first playoff victory since 2002.
But this past season, amidst injuries to Beckham, Landry and Mayfield himself, the Browns regressed big-time.
Now that they have upgraded to Deshaun Watson under center, Mayfield is out, and perhaps a change of scenery would help reinvigorate him.
This Year’s Draft Class Is Weak At Quarterback
In general, it is so hard to project how a college signal-caller’s skills will translate to the NFL.
Some who looked outstanding in the NCAA amounted to very little in the pros, and the opposite has also been true.
Some may want to refrain from Mayfield because he is already 27, or because of his contract, which will pay him almost $19 million this coming season.
He may not be someone who has perennial Pro Bowl potential, but given the right coach, teammates and system, maybe he will be more consistent and stable.
Perhaps a team like the Seattle Seahawks, who have a proven coach in Pete Carroll who wants to run the football more and talented wideouts in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, should give Mayfield a closer look.