Editor’s note: The NFL Draft is over. No one is completely sure when training camp and the regular season will begin for the NFL. The league has now entered a quiet period that is more quiet than usual.
To help fill in that space, we are running a series to determine the best player to wear each jersey number in Cleveland Browns history. Today we present the best player to wear uniform No. 6.
The Cleveland Browns created a black hole at the quarterback position on November 8, 1993, when the team released Bernie Kosar.
This is not to open a debate about whether or not Kosar was on the downside of his career. But that day set in a motion a series of events where the Browns would spend the next 24 years, five months and 18 days searching for a quarterback.
That void was finally filled on April 26, 2018, when the Browns selected quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.
It took until an injury to quarterback Tyrod Taylor — the final link of a quarterback lineage that began with Todd Philcox on November 14, 1993 — in Week 3 of the 2018 season for Mayfield to make his debut.
That night, Mayfield led the Browns to a victory over the New York Jets, energizing a team and a fanbase that had waited far too long for the team to fix the game’s most important position.
Mayfield finished his first season with an NFL record for touchdown passes by a rookie with 27 and helped fuel the hype and belief that the Browns were finally ready to return to relevancy. The 2019 season did not bring a repeat of Mayfield’s rookie success for a variety of reasons — some within Mayfield’s control, but many outside of it.
Even with the disappointment of last season, Mayfield has still quickly put his name firmly on the franchise record books as he is already ninth in career passing yards (7,552) and eighth in touchdown passes (49). His quarterback rating of 85.9 is also ahead of the career mark of Brian Sipe, Frank Ryan, Kosar, Bill Nelsen and Tim Couch.
It may be based more on potential, although the production is also there, but Mayfield is the clear choice as the best Browns player in franchise history to wear uniform No. 6.
Honorable mention: Brian Hoyer, who made 16 starts at quarterback for the Browns from 2013 through 2014. On his best days Hoyer is an average quarterback, but for about a nine-game stretch in 2014 he was at his best and had Browns fans believing in the team.
In helping lead the Browns to a 6-3 record, Hoyer threw 10 touchdown passes against just four interceptions, had had the team at the top of the AFC North Division after a 24-3 win against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Everything started to fall apart shortly after that, however, as the coaching staff gave into pressure from the front office to launch the Johnny Manziel disaster, and Hoyer did not return to the Browns after the season.
Who was the best player to wear No. 6 in Browns history?
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