The Cleveland Browns bandwagon is on the move and filling up quick.
The latest bit of fuel for the ever-growing Cleveland hype-train comes from NFL.com’s Adam Schein, who put quarterback Baker Mayfield high on his list of MVP candidates.
Mayfield is No. 3 on Schein’s list, behind only Phillips Rivers and reigning MVP, Patrick Mahomes.
After surpassing Tyrod Taylor as the starter in Week 3 last season, Mayfield threw for 3,725 yards and had and 27 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. The Browns finished 7-8-1.
“Mayfield won’t fail. He can’t fail. He has the talent, moxie, work ethic, accuracy and leadership skills to push the Browns to the playoffs,” Schein wrote of Mayfield.
It’s high praise for the second-year Browns QB, putting him ahead of the likes of established star QBs Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck.
But Mayfield showed what he could do last year in his 13 starts, breaking Peyton Manning’s record for touchdown passes in a rookie season. Schein also points out how good Mayfield was down the stretch when the Browns reeled off a five wins in their final seven games. Mayfield ranked third in touchdown passes (17), fourth in passer rating (108.4) and first in yards per attempt (8.86) among those with 200-plus passes.
Being the savior that takes a team that did not win a game two years ago to a division title — and possibly more — could be another reason that the former Heisman winner gets a boost in the voting.
“Mayfield will get extra credit for driving Cleveland to an AFC North title, fighting against both a tough group of division rivals and the Browns’ long, established history of dreadful, misguided ineptitude,” Schein wrote defending the pick.
Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. Developing Chemistry
Baker’s MVP candidacy is something that Schein has put his weight behind in the past, citing the addition of talent like Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt.
“I wouldn’t bat an eye if, especially because of the presence of Odell Beckham Jr., Baker Mayfield won the MVP,” Schein said on CBS Sports Network earlier this month.
Beckham hasn’t been in Cleveland long, but has already raved about his new QB — both for his performance on and off the field.
“I’ve watched Baker since Oklahoma … he’s got an arm,” Beckham said. “I have to get adjusted to the speed. He’s throwing that ball hard. Just catching them from him the first day it was completely different.”
Mayfield and Beckham are aligned on their goal to “hang banners” in Cleveland. If the team can accomplish that feat, Baker might be the biggest beneficiary during awards season.