Looking back to the 2018 NFL Draft, many didn’t think that Baker Mayfield would be the section for the Cleveland Browns. Rumors swirled that the Browns would select either Sam Darnold or Josh Allen. Instead, the Browns settled in on Mayfield - a choice that has paid off.
It may have taken some time, but the Browns gunslinger is right there in contention for the best quarterback of that draft class. Josh Allen may have the All-Pro and was deserving. Mayfield did not really turn his corner until after the first half of the 2020 seaosn.
Lamar Jackson brings an MVP award to the table, but his playoff faults can’t be looked past. Jackson has shown inability to beat teams with his arm when it counts. Most recently, his legs have cost him as well. Ball security continues to be an issue for Jackson, who relies heavily on the run.
Darnold was actually solid in his Panthers’ debut. But the former Jets’ first-rounder has some proving to do. New York gave up on him in a sense, so there is some doubt there. If he ends up being that guy for Carolina - the Panthers win big.
Baker Mayfield stats vs. Kansas City Chiefs
21-for-28 321 yards & one interception
Mayfield was spectacular against the Chiefs. It was a game that you could watch and finally say, ‘man this is a Mayfield led team’. Six went head-to-head with the best quarterback in the league and actually outplayed him for majority of the game. If it was not for being hit as he was trying to throw out of bounds, it would have been a pretty flawless game for Mayfield.
Big time throws were a constant on Sunday. Mayfield averaged over 15 yard a completion and constantly threw the ball downfield. A growth to his game that shows he is playing free and trusting his teammates. Also, an important note is that Mayfield was without his number one recover - Odell Beckham Jr.
Mayfield came out in week one and showed he could be the player he was toward the end of 2020. Going into his fourth season now, Mayfield is enjoying having the same coach for the first time in back-to-back seasons. Mayfield will only continue to grow in the Kevin Stefanski offense.
Josh Allen stats vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
30-for-51 270 yards & one touchdown
Two fumbles, one lost
Sunday was a game that Josh Allen will want to look past and leave in the rear view mirror. Anytime you throw the ball 51 times and fail to pass for 300 yards, there is a problem. Given this game was against a very tough defense, it is possible. Allen doesn’t have a good run game to support him, instead has a plethora of very good receivers.
If 2021 is a sign of the Bills offensive struggles, Allen may be in for a regression year. Surprisingly, the Bills ran the ball pretty well on Sunday. It just didn’t open up as much as the Steelers were willing to let them run the ball.
Allen struggled moving in the pocket and was sacked multiple times. Holding onto the ball and not throwing it away hurt Allen quite a bit. A problem the Wyoming product has had in the past. A capable runner, but he’s just not fast enough to out run NFL caliber players often.
There’s a great chance Allen figures this thing out and bounces back for a big game against the Miami Dolphins. His performance Sunday raises some questions for the time being.
Lamar Jackson stats vs. Las Vegas Raiders
19-for-30 235 yards & one touchdown
86 rushing yards and two fumbles lost, three total
Lamar Jackson is a special talent, a unique one to be exact. It isn’t often that Jackson beats teams with his arm, but he is capable. There is times where Jackson makes that big time throw that leaves a wow. Other times, it looks to be a wonder of why exactly Jackson’s throwing ability hasn’t developed further.
Jackson makes that special play where he breaks three tackles, jukes another and throws it before crossing the line of scrimmage. Here is the problem, the Louisville product struggles to hold onto the ball at times. Jackson’s ball security hurt the Ravens a ton on Monday Night Football. Jackson had a chance to go and win the game, instead he fumbled it away.
Week one is a game to forget for the Ravens’ quarterback, one he will want to leave in the dust. Jackson will certainly light some teams up this season, that is no question. In week one he was out performed by other notable AFC North quarterbacks. What makes Jackson so tough though is he always bounces back and it is hard to stop when he does so.