5 Cleveland Browns who could take a step back in 2021
Five Cleveland Browns players who may regress in 2021
The 2020 season was the best the Cleveland Browns have had in a very, very long time. Plenty of players performed admirably, better than they ever had previously.
When such improvement takes place, there is always concern with regression to the mean. Here are five players who could take a step back this season.
5. Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield‘s presence on this list is different from the other players. His arrow is pointed up, with a very steep slope. From Week 7 onward, Mayfield owned Pro Football Focus’s third-highest passing grade in the league, and excluding Week 16, no quarterback ranked ahead of him.
That’s pretty great stuff, and a direct result of him growing comfortable in a new system. Over his first six games and one quarter, it’s fair to say he played poorly, and there were legitimate concerns over his long-term outlook. But there was never any reason to bench him, and he ended up not only turning the corner, but showing a level of play previously unseen.
It’s unfair to expect Mayfield to play that well over the period of an entire season. He has been a streaky player in the passer, and perhaps he was just on an abnormally long one. But the clear development he showed on tape is incredibly encouraging, and he will have the benefit of not having to learn a new scheme over the offseason, as well as gaining both Odell Beckham Jr. and Anthony Schwartz, which will do wonders for the spacing of the Cleveland offense, and better suit Mayfield’s elite deep passing ability.
It’s natural to expect some degree of regression from Mayfield, but not back to anywhere near how he played early in 2020. Mayfield seems to have gotten himself over the hump, and is officially good. Now, it’s just a matter of how great he can consistently be.