CLEVELAND — Two months before John Dorsey took over as general manager of the Cleveland Browns, he believed Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield was the best player in the 2018 NFL Draft.
According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, after Dorsey was let go by the Kansas City Chiefs in June of 2017, he set up a “one-man scouting operation” at his house and did everything he would have been as a general manager, and it was during that time that he saw something special in Mayfield.
“On the record, he knew in October,” Breer told the “Bull and Fox” show on 92.3 The Fan Wednesday. “He knew in October that Baker Mayfield was going to be the best player in the next year’s draft, which is interesting to me because I don’t think there were a ton of people that saw him that way.
“I think a lot of people still looked at him with curiosity, ‘Is this guy a product of the Oklahoma system and the air raid? Is he too short?’ All those questions were there, and I just thought it was interesting because Dorsey had so much conviction on the guy, and obviously, we see now that conviction was pretty well-founded.”
No rookie in the near 100-year history of the NFL has thrown more touchdowns passes than Mayfield.
Mayfield broke the NFL record with his 27th touchdown throw of the season with 3:24 remaining in the fourth quarter of a 26-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC North Division clash at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on December 30.
After taking over the first-team offense in the second quarter of a Week 3 win over the New York Jets, Mayfield completed 310 of his 486 attempts (63.8 percent) for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.
Under the direction of new Browns coach Freddie Kitchens, who was the interim offensive coordinator for the second half of the 2018 season, Mayfield completed 180 of his 263 attempts (68.4 percent) for 2,254 yards and 19 touchdowns against eight interceptions.
Mayfield averaged 281.75 yards and 2.375 touchdowns per game with Kitchens calling the plays.
Although Mayfield does not get official credit for the victory over the Jets because he came on in relief of an injured Tyrod Taylor, the first-year quarterback guided the Browns to seven wins and the greatest single-year turnaround in franchise history.
Individually, Mayfield set franchise records for the most passing touchdowns and yards by a rookie, and his 3,725 yards rank as the sixth-best single-season total in team history, regardless of years of service. Additionally, Mayfield had three of the top five passing yards games by a rookie, as well as the fourth-most accurate season of any Browns quarterback ever.
In addition to being named the Rookie of the Year from the Pro Football Writers of America, Mayfield won the fan vote for the Pepsi Rookie of the Week seven times, was the NFL’s Rookie of the Month for November and earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after leading the Browns to their first season sweep of the Cincinnati Bengals since 2002.
Also, Mayfield was selected as the Offensive Rookie of the Year by ProFootballTalk.com.
Mayfield and one of his Browns teammates, running back Nick Chubb, are finalists for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year Award.