In 2019, Baker Mayfield will get the chance to go head to head with the other four first-round quarterbacks from the 2018 NFL draft.
It’s inevitable. Anytime a quarterback is selected in the first round of a draft, they will always be compared to the other quarterbacks that were also drafted in that round. It adds an extra layer of competition, especially if/when the quarterbacks get to face each other in head to head competition.
As everyone reading this already knows, Baker Mayfield was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. In that same draft, there were four other quarterbacks selected in the first round. In 2019, barring an injury or an appearance by Fitzmagic, Baker Mayfield will get to face all four of those quarterbacks.
The first of the “other four” that Mayfield will face is Sam Darnold. The Jets quarterback has shown flashes of elite characteristics, but as is par for the course for most rookie quarterbacks, was consistently inconsistent during his first campaign. Looking to get even with Mayfield and the Browns for last season’s FridgeBowl, Darnold will be looking to make a statement in this Monday Night Football duel at MetLife Stadium.
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Lamar Jackson will be the next of the “other four” on the slate. The athletic playmaker faced the Browns in the regular-season finale last year, and although he was outplayed by Mayfield, still managed to come out with a win.
The Browns have to challenge Jackson to make plays from within the pocket with his arm. If the defense does not maintain their pass rush lane integrity Jackson could be a problem. If they let Jackson dictate terms and play to his strengths it could be a long afternoon for the Browns defense.
In Week 10, the Browns will welcome Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills to First Energy Stadium. Allen has all the physical traits to be special in the NFL. He has a large frame, an even larger arm, and surprisingly quick feet. The development for his game needs to take place between the ears. If the game slows down for Allen, he has the talent to become a top tier quarterback. Unfortunately for the Bills and their fans, the quarterback has yet to show that ability.
Next up is the wildcard of the “other four”, Josh Rosen. The road to his second season in the league has been nothing short of tumultuous. After being discarded after only one season in Arizona, the former UCLA Bruin is penciled in as the starter in Miami. But pencils have erasers, and Rosen’s backup is none other than Ryan Fitzpatrick. At some point this season, Fitzmagic will make an appearance, and as he does seemingly every season, he will ball out for two to three games before promptly turning back into a pumpkin. There’s just no telling at what point in the season that will happen.
Then in the home finale, the Browns get their second crack at Lamar Jackson when the Ravens come to town. The game is scheduled to be at 1 p.m., but don’t be surprised if it gets flexed out. Both teams will likely be in the playoff hunt with the division title still in their sights. This has all the makings of a Sunday Night Football game of the week.
It’s a long season, and both of these AFC North rivals will have changed immensely since their week four matchup. Still, the rules of engagement for defending Jackson should still be in play. Although, it should be noted that due to his playing style it’s not outside the realm of possibilities that Jackson might not make it to this point in the season.
These five quarterbacks won’t have the opportunity to face each other again the regular season until 2022. By that time, due to the nature of the league, it is highly unlikely that all five will still be on their current teams.
Although Baker Mayfield outplayed his rookie counterparts last season, this is a what have you done lately league. Beating the “other four” quarterbacks from the 2018 draft in head to head competition would just further cement his status of leader of this pack.
Given how Mayfield is able to use competition to motivate himself, these matchups will just be another log on his competitive fire.