In my never ending quest to understand the NFL world on Monday Aditi Kinkhabwala from the NFL network ( who has also worked closely with the Browns )
posted on Twitter in a reply that first pick overall Baker Mayfield would not be given a chance by coach Hue Jackson to win the starting job in camp. Yes to my utter shock I replied with a question “ Serious question now, If Mayfield can not beat out Tyrod would that be a concern? He’s the number 1 pick overall. I’m not saying anything bad about TT but if TT is really that good shouldn’t he be the long term QB and what’s the point of taking Mayfield then? “ This lead into a great discussion on the appropriate time to start a rookie QB. I want to unpack a few facts to get anyone reading this on the same page as I. First the Browns in the last 18 seasons they’ve used multiple quarterbacks. Sometimes up to 6 in one season and that’s more that any other team in the NFL. That alone would have an odds maker give favorable terms to Mayfield starting this year. Next the NFL in a very well written article by Andy Benoit from MMQB he points out another amazing fact “ given that 17 of the last 20 first-round quarterbacks have assumed the first-string duties before the end of their rookie season”. Time to do a little math and well I would say the odds of Mayfield playing this year just based off the two facts above would be somewhere close to 95%.
Now to the players in question, and once again this isn’t a knock on Tyrod Taylor. From my opinion Baker Mayfield is one of the most ready to start day one of his NFL career than almost all of the other quarterbacks taken before him. With 1,157 snaps over 12 thousand yards with multiple teams, offensive coordinators and even head coaches. He’s won just about every award that can be earned for being a quarterback and never dropped below a 60% completion rate. If he was 6’4 everyone would be screaming for him to start right now period. He’s seen just about every kind of defensive scheme that can be ran and beat them all. He’s accurate at every level on the field while able to throw from all different positions both from on the run and a fixed spot. Then to top it all off he has a Eidetic memory.
On to Tyrod Taylor who’s been in the NFL for seven years now and in that time he’s throw 1,271 times for 9056 yards. He’s played for two teams and never once played a full 16 game season. Again I’ll say this is not a slam on Tyrod. But in 4 years of college Mayfield has almost as many attempts and more yards than Tyrod in 7 years, plus Mayfield has started 48 games to Tyrod 43.
So now that you have all the data I’m using to try and understand the next few questions. First ,why in the world would you not give Mayfield a chance to earn the starting job when the odds are so heavily in his favor to play this year anyways? Second, the first reply I always get is you never rush a rookie quarterback to play. OK great can someone show me any kind of data stream or mathematician reason why? As above 17 of the last 20 started playing their rookie year and not everyone was a bust. So where did this “ don’t start a guy to soon” come from? At the end of the day it’s just football not brain surgery and if you can damage the first pick overall by asking him to do the job he’s being paid 30 plus million dollars to do, then by my opinion he shouldn’t have been the first pick to begin with. Really what other job in the world are you hired and told, hey we need you to sit for a year because we don’t want to hurt your ego? Maybe I’m to basic in my understanding of life but that’s not logical.
If Tyrod Taylor is not the long term answer for the Browns at quarterback then he should be viewed as ( insurance ) for the mistake of not drafting the right player at 1. If Tyrod Taylor is the long term answer, then they should have never wasted the first pick overall on a quarterback to watch him play. To give any player a one year contract and hand him the job while holding back a high draft pick from earning the spot he’s going to get anyways is also not logical. Each snap the player that’s going to be replaced in a very short time takes, is also taking away the chemistry that everyone says in so important in the NFL from the player that job belongs to. While wasting an entire season of learning that chemistry because the head coach may lose his job is also just as illogical as the rest. I end with this If Tyrod was with this team for a few years and the veteran that would be replaced down the road with Baker Mayfield as the project they will groom for that, then nothing above would apply. Mayfield is going to take his lumps as the started either this year or next. He should be given a chance to earn the starting job and if he can’t beat out Tyrod then the Browns so make a multi-year commitment to Taylor and he’s our quarterback. This should be simple I believe when you invest in a high draft pick. Give that player a chance to win the job and rely on a veteran to back up encase of failure. Just to be crystal clear this only applies to a veteran that’s on the team for 1 year only.