Mulligan: Browns Right (for Once) in Drafting Mayfield
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Cleveland Browns fans are no strangers to struggle.
The Browns have one win over the past two seasons and didn’t win a single game last year. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2002 and they haven’t won a playoff game since 1994 when the head coach was Bill Belichick.
Cleveland has lacked a stable quarterback since they drafted Tim Couch in 1999, and after past first round misses including Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel, the team selected Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Despite many people questioning this pick, ranking Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen or Josh Allen above him, I believe that Mayfield was the correct number one overall pick.
The Browns last won a playoff game before Mayfield was born, and Mayfield will be the man that leads them back to playoff success.
In a draft that featured so many high-level quarterbacks, I believe Mayfield was the right selection for the Browns with the number one overall pick.
I not only believe he will be a fantastic NFL player, but he is the perfect fit for Cleveland like they haven’t seen in a very long time.
Cleveland quarterbacks were absolutely dreadful in two major statistical categories last season: completion percentage and turnovers. Browns’ passers finished the season with a 53 percent completion rate last season, while Mayfield completed over 70 percent of his passes in both his junior and senior seasons.
In regards to turnovers, the story goes the same. Browns quarterbacks threw 28 interceptions last season, while Mayfield threw 21 in his three full years at Oklahoma. Mayfield only threw six interceptions last season while throwing 43 touchdowns.
The Browns had two major issues with their quarterbacks last season, and they drafted the man that was among the best in college football in regards to those two things.
The Browns also added talent to fit around Mayfield with key offseason additions and one key player returning from suspension.
The return of Josh Gordon is key to any quarterback’s success in Cleveland, and him staying on the field is obviously important. The Browns’ front office also did some work in the offseason and they have a few more weapons on offense.
The additions of wide receiver Jarvis Landry and running back Carlos Hyde are serious improvements to the offense. Landry is one of the better wideouts in the league, and Hyde is a very good complementary running back for this team that lacked firepower a season ago.
Haley & Mayfield, a match made in football heaven
One major addition to the coaching staff came in the form of offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
This is quite possibly the most important change this team made in regards to the success of Mayfield, as it allows him to fit into an offense he can thrive in. Haley was the offensive coordinator for the Steelers from 2012 to 2018 and ran a fast-paced, pass-heavy offense that operated largely in the shotgun and spread the ball around.
Mayfield operated in a similar offense at Oklahoma and thrived in the fast-paced, quick-pass offense. With threats like Gordon and Landry running downfield, Mayfield is in a prime position to turn this offense into something like the high-powered Oklahoma team that put up 45.1 points per game.
These major factors not only confirm that Mayfield was the right pick for the Browns but point to him being very successful with this team in the future.
Mayfield’s best attributes are in places where the Browns struggled mightily, and he will be in a system that fits his game alongside multiple top-level receivers. The Browns may have one of the worst draft histories in the NFL, marred with bad quarterbacks, but Mayfield was the perfect option for them and will lead Cleveland back to the playoffs and NFL relevancy before it is all said and done.