Browns' Baker Mayfield Ripped by Unnamed NFL Evaluator: 'He's Not a Leader'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2020

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield answers questions during a news conference after the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Browns 33-23 in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

NFL coaches and evaluators believe Baker Mayfield is far from a Tier 1 quarterback, and one evaluator did not hold back when assessing the Cleveland Browns signal-caller.

"Look at last year how many opportunities he had to make a play on third down and did not do it," the evaluator said, per Mike Sando of The Athletic. "You can't blame it all on coaching. And he's not a leader. He doesn't say the right things. To me, a lot of that position is, can you lead? And he hasn't proven so far that he can lead. Look how many times he was in the news for saying something stupid. He had to apologize to his own team. It's one thing if you're winning. He's not. Go to the podium with a little humility."

Sando's article asked 50 coaches and evaluators to rank the NFL's starters by tiers, and Mayfield received six Tier 2 votes, 38 Tier 3 votes and six Tier 4 votes after he was listed as a Tier 2 quarterback heading into last year.

His ranking on this year's list is No. 21.

While the evaluator who ripped Mayfield was clear that everything can't be blamed on coaching, the young quarterback has already had four head coaches and two general managers as he gets set to begin his third season. 

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"I think Kevin Stefanski will help Mayfield, but there is a risk Kevin will be so like he was in Minnesota—so close to the vest—that Mayfield's creativity might not show up," an offensive coach said of Cleveland's new coach. "There is a fine balance there. Mayfield is a three that needs to understand how to play quarterback better than just going back and playing street ball."

Mayfield's ability to improvise was on full display when he won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma and flashed his individual brilliance in the NFL with 27 touchdown passes to 14 interceptions as a rookie.

That showing, along with an offense featuring Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and others, is why optimism was so high in Cleveland heading into his second year.

However, all the Browns did was turn in a 6-10 record as arguably the most disappointing team in the league in 2019, earning Mayfield some of the criticism he received in this survey. He was a major culprit for the struggles, throwing 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions during a frustrating follow-up to his rookie effort.

He still has Beckham and Landry in an offense that now features two-time Pro Bowler Austin Hooper at tight end.

If he limits his turnovers and gets the ball into the playmakers' hands, Cleveland can bounce back in 2020 and he can climb these quarterback rankings.

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