The case for Baker Mayfield as a capable NFL starter generally takes a U-turn back to his 2020 season. Mayfield threw for 26 touchdowns and led the Browns to the playoffs during an 11-5 campaign.
But a closer look at his 2020 numbers may instead be an explanation why the signal caller is now a backup quarterback who appears to being running out of chances to start for a playoff contender next season.
Even in his “best” year,” Mayfield ranked just 18th in passing yardage on a team that relied on a two-headed rushing attack to create many of his opportunities.
Critics point to his career 61.6% completion rate.
But advanced stats show Mayfield was among the league’s least accurate quarterbacks even during his best season.
In 2020, he had the sixth highest rate uncatchable passes, not including intentional throwaways and spikes.
His “bad throw” rate was 18.8%, just behind Cam Newton, according to Pro Football Reference.
That added up to 85 of his 305 attempts being unintentionally uncatchable on the year.
Drew Lock had the highest (worst) rating at 22.9%.
That’s not good company.
Lock’s fate is pretty well sealed.
He’ll be a starting quarterback in Seattle until next month, if he’s lucky.
Mayfield’s percentage of on-target throws – precise strikes to receivers – ranked 28th that year.
(The guy in last place? Yup, Lock again, at 69%)
By comparison, Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers both finished at around 81.3% despite throwing 50 more attempts, stats show.
Over four seasons at the helm in Cleveland, Mayfield’s often maddening inaccuracy has been one of a few things consistent about his game.
The other thing: His uniform.
But that will change soon.