Pro Football Focus dishes out their annual awards and Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield was named their Offensive Rookie of the Year
It was quite the year for Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Oklahoma product was taken first overall in the 2018 NFL Draft and despite not starting until Week 4, he went on to win seven Rookie of the Week honors.
Not only that, but Mayfield also set the record for the most passing touchdowns by a rookie with 27 — edging out Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson who each had 26 in their respective rookie seasons. The rookie also set the Browns record for most passing yards in a season, finishing with 3,725.
He may not be done with the accolades either. Mayfield is one of the finalists for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Most believe it will come down to him or New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
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While we have to wait for that announcement still, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) has given their annual awards out and they have elected to go with Mayfield for the offensive rookie honors. In giving him the award, Michael Renner wrote that Mayfield had a historically great season for a rookie.
"“Mayfield earned the second-highest grade we’ve ever given to a rookie quarterback but unlike Russell Wilson – the previous leader – Mayfield achieved that grade in a pass-heavy offense. His 531 dropbacks were 55 more than Wilson despite coming in three fewer starts.” — Michael Renner, Pro Football Focus"
The most impressive thing about Mayfield’s season was the fact that, as Renner points out, he was asked to do much more than most rookie quarterbacks. He also had to deal with some serious dysfunction with Hue Jackson and Todd Haley — and a coaching change at midseason due to that dysfunction.
Mayfield rose above all that to deliver one of the best rookie seasons ever and it would be a shame if he doesn’t follow this award up with the official Rookie of the Year honors.
While Barkley also had a great season, Mayfield surpassed some of the best in the game despite the issues around him — and the fact that he started fewer games. Oh, and he also won the weekly award seven times this season, which pretty much says all we need to know about who deserves the award.
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