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Have the Browns ruined Baker Mayfield?

Ahead of Thursday’s matchup of two first overall picks, Joe Burrow can look to Cleveland’s QB as exactly what he wants to avoid becoming.

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Baker Mayfield is frustrated. He is inaccurate. And his confidence is shot.

Really, he’s the opposite of what he was at Oklahoma.

We can blame the terrible coaches he’s had (including Hue Jackson), but really the pattern is too difficult to ignore— Cleveland simply ruins quarterbacks. The Cleveland Browns have been a smashing failure in their reboot form.

If you don’t believe me, take it from the most prominent Browns fan on Twitter, Chris McNeil, the man behind the 0-16 Perfect Season parade. He joined us to talk about the “bum fight” between Ohio’s two struggling franchises.

“It’s not the same Baker,” McNeil said, referring to Mayfield’s precipitous drop since his rookie year. “He’s just got more of the same problems that he had last year. He was overthrowing a lot of guys last year. He was inaccurate, even on short passes. And we’re seeing more of the same.”

Really, Mayfield has gone from a top overall pick, franchise QB to a serviceable starter who needs everything to go right around him. And even then, he can’t necessarily deliver. On Sunday, the Browns’ rushing attack looked magnificent. They ran for 138 yards on just 27 carries against the Baltimore Ravens.

And yet, they could only muster 6 points.

Back in July, The Athletic published a list of quarterbacks placed in tiers by 50 evaluators and coaches. They put Baker in Tier 3, meaning he is “a quarterback (who) is a legitimate starter but needs a heavier running game and/or defensive component to win. A lower-volume dropback passing offense suits him best.”

Mayfield’s Week 1 performance confirmed that analysis.

Now, Mayfield will go up against a man placed in a similar position to the one he was placed in back in 2018: Joe Burrow, the #1 overall pick in the Draft. McNeil said he thinks the Bengals will similarly ruin Burrow. But we know this is mere projection for now.

Burrow has far more composure than Mayfield, despite worse offensive line play. He is quick to blame himself and use everything as a learning experience. He doesn’t do clapbacks on Twitter and even won over Colin Cowherd by trolling the master troll.

Furthermore, unlike Cleveland, Cincinnati is not a place where QBs go to die. Forget greats like Ken Anderson or Boomer Esiason from the Paul Brown era. Even Andy Dalton, a second-rounder under Mike Brown, looked like a franchise QB with the Bengals. And Carson Palmer would have had a tremendous career if not for injuries.

Yes, the offensive line will rattle Burrow a bit. But, like we saw in Week 1, the young QB will eventually make the necessary adjustments to put his team in position to win. Burrow is no Mayfield because Cleveland is not Cincinnati, as the great Sam Wyche pointed out.

You can listen to our preview of Thursday Night’s game against the Browns below or on iTunes. If you like what you hear, please subscribe and leave a 5-star review.