1. Baker Mayfield, Quarterback
Entering the offseason programs as a rookie, Baker Mayfield was trying to learn the ropes and show that he had what it took to be a star in the NFL. He was doing this behind Tyrod Taylor, who was named the starting quarterback before the season began.
We all know what happened next, as Mayfield took over in Week 3 and had the best rookie season for a quarterback in Cleveland Browns’ history. Mayfield set the record for most passing yards by a rookie in team history, while also setting the NFL record for touchdown passes.
Fast forward to this year and things are completely different. No longer a reserve, it’s clear as day that Mayfield is the leader of this franchise. Not only is he out there leading the offense early on in OTAs, but he’s been quick to speak on all the important topics — while handling them all like a pro.
He spoke up for OBJ, who wasn’t in attendance after showing up for day one of OTAs. He also dished on Kareem Hunt, who will be suspended the first eight games of the season. When talking about a delicate situation, Mayfield said he asked former teammates about the kind of person Hunt is and said only good things were said about him.
"“Nothing but a lot of good things to say, and that is important,” Mayfield said via Mike Florio if Pro Football Talk. “What guys say about you in the locker room speaks more about you than anything you will do on the field.”"
We all know Mayfield can sling the football, and he was solid as a rookie throwing for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns. But to take the next step, he needs to become a leader on the field who his teammates will be willing to run through a brick wall for.
He’s doing that every day and becoming the face of this franchise will only help him to get the recognition he deserves.