Cleveland Browns biggest questions for 2020 season ahead of the Combine
Can Baker take the next step?
2018 was an exciting season for Browns fans. After enduring a 1-31 stretch the two prior campaigns, they finally found hope. That hope came in the form of an incredibly self-confident quarterback by the name of Baker Mayfield.
The No. 1 overall pick in the draft, Mayfield entered the field in Week 3 as the first half neared its end. With Tyrod Taylor out with a concussion, the rookie took advantage and led Cleveland to a win in front of their home crowd on Thursday Night Football.
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It was one of the more celebrated wins in recent memory as it gave the fans someone to believe in. Their rookie quarterback looked the part as he picked apart the Jets defense in his debut game. He also took the job away from Taylor and then set the NFL record for the most touchdown passes by a rookie ever. And he did that in just 13 starts.
Overall, he was 6-7 as a starter and there was a strong belief that he could lead them to a winning record in his sophomore campaign. Instead, he regressed as he had a dip in completion percentage (63.8 to 59.4 percent) and touchdowns (27 to 22). He also went from 14 picks as a rookie to 21 in year two.
This season, the Browns need him to be better. They need him to stop looking for a home run on every play and learn to work some of the shorter passing routes. He also has to get the ball out of his hands more quickly, something he did incredibly well as a rookie.
But they can’t just have him return to his 2018 form. Instead, Cleveland needs Baker to take the next step he was supposed to last season.
He said ahead of the draft in 2018 that he was the guy who could turn this franchise around. Now, it’s time to make good on that promise.