Browns trade Baker Mayfield: Former No. 1 pick tops list of Cleveland QBs taken in first round since 1999 | blackhatworld
Mayfield leaves town as the team’s best QB since its return to the NFL
On Wednesday, Baker Mayfield was ultimately dealt to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick, putting an end to his stint in Cleveland. Mayfield, the first overall choice in the 2018 NFL Draft, spent just four years and 62 games in Cleveland.
Since the Browns’ return to the NFL in 1999, Mayfield has joined the group of former first-round quarterbacks who were chosen by the team. While Mayfield’s career in Cleveland clearly lacked promise, he was unquestionably more successful with the Browns than the four quarterbacks selected in the first round before him. Let’s compare Mayfield’s Browns career to that of the team’s other first-round picks at the position over the past more than 20 years, now that his time in Cleveland is done.
1. Baker Mayfield (2018-21)
This is not shocking. Mayfield led a club that had combined to go 1-31 the previous two seasons to a 6-7 record in starts as a rookie. Prior to Justin Herbert breaking it in 2020, that year’s rookie record of 27 touchdown passes was held by him.
2019 saw Mayfield and the Browns perform poorly, but 2020 saw them more than make up for it. Even though Odell Beckham was injured for the majority of the year, Mayfield was able to reach his full potential.
.While leading the Browns to 11 victories, the most since the 1994 season, Mayfield threw for the second-most yards in a single season in Browns history (only Bernie Kosar’s 1986 campaign was more prolific). Additionally, Mayfield threw more than three times as many touchdowns (26) than interceptions (8) during the regular season. Then, in Cleveland’s wild-card victory over Pittsburgh—the team’s first playoff victory in more than 25 years—Mayfield threw three touchdown passes.
The 2021 season was challenging for Mayfield and his teammates, just as the previous year. However, Mayfield started 14 games, winning six of them, and threw for more than 3,000 yards with 17 more touchdown passes than interceptions (13).
2. Tim Couch (1999-03)
Couch, the first overall pick in the 1999 Draft, had the difficult job of managing an expansion team. The fact that Couch and the Browns were in the same division as Baltimore and Pittsburgh, two teams with developing defences that would rule the league for the next ten years, made the task more difficult.
In their first two seasons, the Browns only managed five victories, and for all but one of those victories, Couch started at quarterback. When Butch Davis was appointed in 2001 after bringing the Miami Hurricanes back to national prominence, things rapidly changed around. Couch became the fourth quarterback in franchise history to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season while leading the Browns to a 7-9 record in 2021.
The following year, Couch and the Browns performed even better. Couch, who that year had the second-highest single-season completion % in the history of the team, guided the Browns to their first postseason appearance since their return to the NFL. However, in a 36-33 playoff defeat to Pittsburgh without starting quarterback Couch due to injury, backup quarterback Kelly Holcomb threw for 429 yards.
A quarterback issue sparked by Holcomb’s performance that day never really went away. In 2003, neither player performed to their full potential, which caused the Browns to sputter to a 6-10 record. After sustaining rotator cuff and shoulder problems, Couch was cut after the season and would never again play in a regular-season game.
3. Brady Quinn (2007-09)
Quinn relocated to Cleveland after a successful career at Notre Dame. Prior to earning three starts in 2008, he spent much of his first season on the bench. Quinn became embroiled in a quarterback spat with Derek Anderson in 2009. Before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 14, Quinn made 10 starts that season and went 2-8.
Quinn experienced three standout moments in 2009. Quinn became the first Browns quarterback to throw three touchdown passes in one quarter during a Week 10 loss to the Lions. He lost against the Chargers two weeks later, throwing for 271 yards and three touchdowns.
Quinn started the following week when the Browns defeated the Steelers 13-6, effectively eliminating Pittsburgh from playoff contention.
In the end, Cleveland chose to sign Anderson, who guided the Browns to a 10-6 record in 2010, and dealt Quinn to the Broncos. Quinn never got the start in Denver, but he started eight games for the Chiefs in 2012. In the future, he would spend a short time with the Seahawks, Jets, Rams, and Dolphins.
4. Brandon Weeden (2012-13)
Weeden, a former minor league baseball player, was selected by the Browns with the 22nd overall choice in the 2012 NFL Draft when he was 28 years old. That season, he started for the Browns and had a 5-10 record while throwing for 3,385 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions.
In 2013, Weeden defeated Brian Hoyer for the starting job, but injuries limited him to just five games. The following year, Weeden started five games and went 0-5 while tossing nine more touchdown passes than picks. Weeden made three starts in Dallas and one start for the Texans over the course of the next two seasons before being cut loose the following offseason. In his final season wearing an NFL uniform, Weeden failed to attempt a single pass for the Texans in 2018.
5. Johnny Manziel (2014-15)
In his two years with the Browns, the divisive former Heisman Trophy winner made just eight starts. Manziel won his first game as a starter in Week 2 of the 2015 season after two terrible starts as a rookie (he was strangely thrust into the starting lineup late in the year despite Hoyer guiding the Browns to a 7-6 start). In Week 10, Manziel had a career-high 33 completions for 372 yards in a loss to Pittsburgh of 30-9. Four weeks later, he was successful in his subsequent start against the 49ers, winning 24-10 while tossing for 270 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The high point of Manziel’s NFL career would be this.
Manziel only completed 50% of his passes in the following two games, and the Browns went on to lose both games by a combined score of 47-26. Manziel missed the Browns’ final game of the regular season due to a concussion, but soon it was revealed that Johnny had been in Las Vegas the weekend before the game rather than being with the team. He was fired that summer as a result of additional off-field transgressions. Manziel was not signed by any more NFL team.
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