CLEVELAND — After a disappointing 2019 season, Baker Mayfield got back on track in 2020. And it appears the rest of the NFL has taken notice.
On Sunday, NFL.com released the latest edition in its annual countdown of the NFL's top 100 players heading into the 2021 season, as voted on by the league's players. And in doing so, it revealed that Mayfield had made his return to the list, ranking 71st
"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," NFL.com's Adam Maya wrote of Mayfield's place in the rankings. "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."
This year marks the second time in his career that Mayfield has been a part of the NFL's Top 100 countdown after previously ranking 50th heading into the 2019 season. The No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, however, failed to capitalize on his lofty expectations, turning in a lackluster sophomore season in which he recorded the second-most interceptions in the league (21) as the Browns compiled a disappointing 6-10 record.
In 2020, however, Mayfield bounced back, helping lead Cleveland to its first playoff appearance since 2002 and first postseason victory since 1994. Now, both the Browns and Mayfield enter 2021 with increased expectations as they look to build on last season's success.