Johnson, Williams, and Kellerman, the hosts of the morning radio show “Keyshawn, JWill and Max,” seemed mixed.
Johnson labeled Baker’s NFL career a “disappointment,” drawing a line between that and “bust.”
Williams was also more upbeat in his characterization:
“Baker got the Browns to their first playoffs in a long time. Regardless of whether you want to say it was primarily based on their run game, he made plays down the stretch to get them there.”
Max Kellerman, who once co-hosted ESPN’s “First Take,” was the grimmest of the three:
“It is fair to say if you’re selected first or second overall pick, it’s a great accomplishment to get to the highest league in the world. But that’s a bust. By the standards of one of the top picks in the draft, bust is a completely legitimate word to use.”
In his short career, Mayfield did manage to lead the Browns to an 11-5 record and playoff appearance.
Every other year, though?
Mayfield’s ceiling seems to be six wins.
He managed only six wins in 2018, 2019, and 2021.
In those three seasons, he threw double-digit picks and his QBR ranged from a high of 54.4 (2019) to 35.1 (2021).
But until a disappointing 2021 season, Mayfield had shown general improvement, giving up eight picks against 26 TDs and earning a 65.6 QBR.
It’s also worth remembering that 2021-22 season was maligned by injury.
Another parroted myth about Baker Mayfield: he needs everything to be perfect around him.
In ‘20, he went 11-5 w/a playoff win w/no WR1 (OBJ), w/the 17th ranked D & a team ravaged by COVID in the playoffs w/no head coach & an OL Baker met in the locker room in PIT. #Browns https://t.co/dDLmSe8Afc
— Ed Greenberger (@EdGreenberger) April 27, 2022
Going off of Kellerman’s metric – “one of the top picks” – perhaps Mayfield’s career isn’t what the Browns hoped it would develop into.
Though, to Mayfield’s credit, going No. 1 overall isn’t a surefire way to the Hall of Fame.
It comes with great expectations, but personnel, injury, and staffing also play important roles.
How does Mayfield stack up against other top picks?
Compared to those players, Mayfield is probably average.
Garrett is the obvious best in that field, and Mayfield might not have reached a Super Bowl like Goff, but generally, of the QBs in that bunch, one could argue Mayfield is the best (or at least most consistent).
hot take , I don’t think the Browns will ever regret moving on from Baker Mayfield BUT I think a good amount of teams will regret not trading minimal assets for him.
— Quincy Carrier (@Kwen_C) April 30, 2022
Against the Field
What if we look at Mayfield’s career by the other QBs taken in 2018?
It was expected to be a major QB draft, a major departure from the 2022 draft that concluded this past weekend.
In that field, Mayfield is…smack average.
Jackson won Most Valuable Player honors his second season; Allen looks to be a fixture of the league for years to come, leading the Buffalo Bills to regular season and postseason success.
Darnold, for his part, could be Mayfield’s future teammate, having washed up for the Jets and failing to do much better in Carolina.
Rosen lasted a season in Arizona, had a cup of coffee in Miami, and even less than that in a few other spots across the league.
Presumably, he’s dusting off that UCLA resume for a job in some front office pretty soon (that is to say, his days of being an NFL player are probably over).
That leaves Mayfield, who hasn’t yet reached Jackson or Allen’s level, but has already far surpassed Rosen and Darnold as a quality contributor.
Does that make Mayfield a bust?
But that doesn’t mean his career hasn’t been disappointing.