Browns fans shouldn’t be panicked over Baker Mayfield’s slow start, but it’s definitely time for a healthy amount of concern.
The fact that Tyrod Taylor is set to start the season as Cleveland’s starting quarterback isn’t an issue for Browns fans. However, reports that Baker Mayfield is nowhere close to challenging Taylor for the starting job should be causing mild concern in Northeast Ohio.
Specifically, Dan Labbe of the Cleveland Plain Dealer claims that Mayfield “didn’t look ready” to compete with Taylor during OTAs and minicamp. Losing a close race to the veteran Taylor would have been a solid outcome for the Browns. The idea that Mayfield has looked out of his depth so far is a much larger concern.
Remember we’re not talking about a middle round pick here. Mayfield was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Quite a few quarterbacks in his draft class already appear to be challenging for a starting position on Week 1. Josh Rosen is pushing hard in Arizona and Sam Darnold is squarely in the mix with the Jets. Even Lamar Jackson, who was selected towards the end of round one, is pushing the Ravens to get him on the field in some form or fashion.
In fairness to Mayfield, the Browns didn’t select him to be their opening game starter. Instead, they took him because they believed he could grow into the franchise quarterback of their future. The true measurement of his selection will come after several more years in the league.
On the other hand, Browns fans would certainly prefer to hear that Mayfield was showing encouraging signs in camp. Players picked so highly in the draft should at least be flashing big time ability on a regular basis. From the sound of it, Mayfield is struggling to look like anything resembling a starting NFL quarterback.
There’s still plenty of time for Mayfield to turn his 2018 season into a rousing success, but things aren’t looking that way at the moment. Browns fans need to hope that Hue Jackson can get their young quarterback up to speed sooner rather than later. That statement, in and of itself, might be enough to strike fear in the hearts of some Browns fans.