The NFL network released it’s projected top 100 players for the 2021 season. Where did Baker Mayfield appear on the list?
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield finally cracked the NFL 100. And it’s about time he did. Baker has seen his accomplishments downplayed, over-looked and dismissed his entire career. Finally the tide is turning.
On Sunday the NFL Network began its NFL Top 100 players of 2021. This list is different from others in that only the players were allowed to vote on the list. Thus, Baker may not be recognized by the cadre of NFL reporters for his excellence on the field. But his peers recognize his greatness.
Baker made his long awaited debut at No. 71. It seems a little low. But Baker still has some questions around him, especially after starting all three seasons slow and ending strong.
"“The last we saw of Mayfield, he was nearly leading the Browns to a huge playoff upset of the Chiefs after playing the best ball of his pro career during the second half of 2020. He’s closed out all three of his seasons on a high note. He’s also gotten off to slow starts each year. Perhaps all the turnover at head coach and offensive coordinator were the primary cause. Will stability on the sideline manifest into consistency on the playing field? Cleveland needs more from its QB in order to fulfill Super Bowl aspirations. Mayfield’s past suggests he’s up for the challenge.” – Adam Maya, NFL.com Digital Content Producer"
Baker has started all three of his professional seasons slow. But anyone would expect him to start slow given the circumstances. His rookie year, he had to beat out Tyrod Taylor for the starting job then learn to play in the NFL after running an Air Raid offense in college.
His second year was the infamous, and hopefully forgettable, year that Freddie Kitchens drove the bus. Freddie made all kinds of weird decisions that cost the team games. He would constantly try to score twice before half. The fact that Baker was able to succeed at all his second season is a testament to his hard work and drive to succeed.
His third year saw the hire of reigning NFL coach of the year Kevin Stefanski. Under Stefanski, Baker had to learn a 3rd NFL offense in three years. He progressed through the season as coach and quarterback learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Baker’s success at the end of year three seems to be most stable, sustainable and repeatable success of his career.
Should Baker continue to progress in Stefanski’s offense, he will certainly progress his way up the NFL Top 100 list in the future. Now that Baker is beginning to get recognition from his peers, recognition from the NFL media cronies should follow.
But Baker may never get the praise he deserves. Facts are, the name Baker Mayfield sells. It sells particularly well when used in a controversial way. Jerry Springer was once asked where he goes when fights break out on his set. He responded with something to the effect of “I am going to the bank”.
Media members go to the bank after starting controversy with the name Baker Mayfield. It is a tough ask for those people to stop making money and do some credible reporting. Why give Baker his just due when denying his just due makes more money?
Nonetheless, the players, who don’t make money by starting controversy, recognize Baker’s worth. Will the Browns recognize it with an extension? Stay tuned to find out.