Despite the fact that Tyrod Taylor should be firmly established as the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback in 2018, that didn’t stop Pro Football Focus from ranking quarterback Baker Mayfield as No. 2 on their list of offensive rookie of the year candidates.
PFF acknowledges that “most plans to sit rookie quarterbacks unravel quickly these days.” Here is the upside they believe Mayfield offers, if given the opportunity as a rookie:
If and when he gets on the field, he has the play to earn himself rookie of the year. His career passer rating when kept clean in college was a ludicrous 134.3, which is more than 15.0 points higher than any of the other top prospects this season managed in their best single season. That play from a clean pocket has been shown by PFF’s data to be the most predictive of success from college to the NFL, but if you were concerned about play under pressure, it’s the same story there. Mayfield’s career rating under pressure is 116.1, and only one other passer topped 100.0 over his best single season (Sam Darnold in 2016 had a 101.0 rating). Mayfield was the best college prospect of this group by a distance, and should he force his way onto the field there’s no reason to hop off that bandwagon now.
Other offensive candidates include RB Saquon Barkley, QB Sam Darnold, WR Calvin Ridley, and TE Mike Gesicki.