Another year, and another new starting quarterback heading into training camp...but this time it really is different (and that isn’t a tongue-in-cheek joke)!
Tyrod Taylor was the Browns’ starting quarterback all of last offseason, with everyone knowing that Baker Mayfield was the future of the franchise. There was no doubt about the succession plan happening at some point, since Mayfield was a No. 1 overall pick. The only question was “when” it would happen.
In last year’s training camp poll, 37% of fans thought that Mayfield wouldn’t start a single game. 32% thought he would start 2-3 games. Only 8% of fans thought he would start more than 6 games; he started 13, and now he is firmly entrenched as not just the Browns’ starting quarterback, but one of the most hyped up players in the entire NFL heading into 2019. But he’s not the only player at quarterback heading into training camp, as much as it may seem like that — in fact, there are four on the roster! Let’s take a look at each of them.
1. Baker Mayfield - Starting QB
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 215 lbs | Age: 24
Experience: 2 years | College: Oklahoma
Baker Mayfield is a married man now, tying the knot in the dead period between minicamp and training camp. As a rookie, Mayfield threw for 3,725 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. In games that he played in, he compiled a record of 7-7, instantly turning the Browns’ franchise around with a rocket arm, swagger, and playmaking ability that none of the quarterbacks on the franchise since 1999 have really even come close to having. Add in Odell Beckham, one of the top 5 receivers in the NFL, and Mayfield should be in line for a great sophomore season.
There are some things that Mayfield needs to work on in his second season. One of the biggest things that I recall (more so earlier in the year) was him not quite putting enough lift on the ball to receivers who were open past the linebackers — Mayfield would zip the ball over the offensive line, but not quite above the reach of the dropping linebacker. Jake Burns of Cleveland.com also points out how Mayfield can improve when rolling to his left — something that tends to be difficult for many right-handed quarterbacks. We will see how those elements improve in training camp.
Final Roster Odds: 100%
2. Drew Stanton - Veteran QB
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 226 lbs | Age: 35
Experience: 12 years | College: Michigan State
This is Drew Stanton’s final year under contract with the Browns, where he will account for $3.765 million against the cap. Entering his 12th year in the NFL, Stanton did not have to take a single snap in the 2018 regular season. Despite his lackluster career numbers (52.4% completion percentage, 20 touchdowns, and 24 interceptions), coaches often cite his record as a starter, which is 11-6. What those numbers tell me is that Stanton might be able to start and manage a game in a pinch, but he’s not going to be a starter for an extended period of time.
Last year, the biggest asset that Stanton carried with him was his experience in working with and mentoring former No. 1 overall picks: Matthew Stafford with the Detroit Lions, Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts, Carson Palmer with the Arizona Cardinals, and then Baker Mayfield with the Browns. I think the Browns will want to carry three quarterbacks in 2019, but I don’t know if Stanton will be the No. 2 or No. 3 quarterback.
Final Roster Odds: 90%
3. Garrett Gilbert - AAF Signing
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 230 lbs | Age: 28
Experience: 2 years | College: Southern Methodist
After the AAF folded earlier this year, NFL teams went in and scratched the barrel for talent. One of the players Cleveland signed was Garrett Gilbert, who played for the league’s Orlando team. He was the league’s passing leader and MVP when it folded, throwing for 2,152 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. If you’re looking for some more team chemistry, though, Gilbert and Baker Mayfield can bond a bit over the fact that they went to the same high school, albeit many years apart.
Gilbert may be new to the Browns, but he’s been waiting for a quite awhile to make it big in the NFL. He was a 6th round draft pick by the Rams in 2014, but didn’t see his first regular season action until last year, when he made a relief appearance for the Carolina Panthers, throwing three passes. GM John Dorsey was intrigued by the growth Gilbert showed in the AAF after having worked with Steve Spurrier:
Dorsey is encouraged by the arm talent and growth displayed by Garrett Gilbert under Steve Spurrier in his AAF stint, wants to see the next steps taken by Gilbert now that he's in the building with the Browns.— Nick Shook (@TheNickShook) April 18, 2019
Here is one of his touchdowns — to another former Browns player:
Final Roster Odds: 75%
4. David Blough - Rookie QB
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 200 lbs | Age: 23
Experience: Rookie | College: Purdue
David Blough enters camp as the team’s undrafted free agent quarterback, coming out of Purdue. In an interview with Rivals, Blough talked about choosing Cleveland over the Detroit Lions, and how assistant GM Eliot Wolf was the guy who really made the pitch for him to come to the Browns:
During Purdue’s Pro Day in March, Blough went to dinner with Cleveland assistant G.M. Eliot Wolf in West Lafayette. Later, the Browns flew him to Cleveland for a meeting. “We knew from the beginning it was a good fit,” said Blough. “I have been in contact the most with the assistant general manage, Eliot Wolf, the son of Ron Wolf. He just got to Cleveland last year. He said he’s a big Big Ten fan and had been watching me for years. He wanted to make sure I was who they thought. So they brought me in.”
Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst credits Blough’s leadership skills, toughness, and sense of the pocket, but doesn’t feel he has the arm strength or ability to put drive on his deep passes at the NFL level. Showing his sense of humor, Blough had fun as the lowest-rated rookie quarterback in this year’s Madden game:
Seeing as 48 overall may be the lowest QB rating ever ♂️... I’ve got $250 for the first person who can win League MVP and the Super Bowl on @EAMaddenNFL All-Madden mode. With me, David Blough at QB... Good luck pic.twitter.com/xkk0C0G1xj— David Blough (@david_blough10) July 2, 2019
Blough may ultimately be a camp arm only, but the fact that Wolf seemed to recruit him could give him an extended look on the practice squad, if he impresses during camp.
Final Roster Odds: 5%
Will Baker Mayfield be a Top 5 QB in stats this year?
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If you could only keep one quarterback as the Browns’ backup in 2019, who would it be?
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