It’s full steam ahead on the Cleveland Browns’ hype train. Even though the Browns haven’t made the playoffs since 2002, most people believe this is the year that the moribund franchise will turn it around. Second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield is the primary reason behind this new-found faith in the Browns, and he is expected to improve on a stellar rookie campaign in 2018. How much will he improve? Let’s take a look at some NFL Player Futures bets and assess.
Will Baker Mayfield Throw for the Most Yards in 2019?
For Mayfield to win this bet, it would require quite the leap in his second season. As a rookie, Mayfield threw for 3,725 yards last season, well short of Ben Roethlisberger’s league-high 5,129 yards.
There is some reason for optimism though. We saw Patrick Mahomes make an incredible leap last season, throwing for nearly 5,100 yards and 50 touchdowns in his second season in the league. Mayfield could make a similar jump since he now has seasoning after multiple years as a starter in the pass-happy Big 12.
As a rookie, Mayfield didn’t play in all 16 games either. Tyrod Taylor started the first three games for Cleveland, and it was only after a dismal performance in those first three outings that Mayfield was handed the reins. He went through the typical rookie growing pains, but once he got over those hiccups, he really took off. Over his last 17 games of the season, he was electric, posting a passer rating of 120 or better in four outings.
That was largely fueled by much better pass blocking from the offensive line. While Mayfield was sacked a whopping 22 times in his first seven games, he was sacked just 3 times in Cleveland’s final seven games of 2018. It’s unlikely the protection will be that good again, but it is reason to be optimistic.
If you’re looking to bet the over, you’re going to be buoyed by Cleveland’s big offseason addition. The Browns brought in Odell Beckham Jr. in March after trading for his former LSU teammate Jarvis Landry last year, and the two stand to be one of the top receiving tandems in the league.
Will Baker Mayfield Win the 2019 NFL MVP?
Baker Mayfield’s MVP odds are the fourth lowest of any player according to the online sportsbooks. Mayfield’s odds are just a point behind former league MVP Aaron Rodgers, and the other two players he is trailing are Matt Ryan and reigning MVP Mahomes.
I’m a lot more bullish on Mayfield’s odds to win MVP than his chances of winning the passing title. If Cleveland does indeed turn it around and finish with 11 or 12 wins, he is going to receive a lot of love from the media and fans, making him one of the award’s frontrunners.
Charisma and personality play a hand in the voting for this award, and Mayfield possesses those qualities in abundance. He has always been a fan favorite and a media darling, so his numbers might not even have to be that special for Mayfield to win MVP if Cleveland is the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the AFC.
Will Baker Mayfield Throw for the Most Touchdown Passes in 2019?
This is the prop that I’m most bearish on, and the oddsmakers agree. For quarterbacks to throw for a lot of touchdowns, they have to be a little lucky, and they have to have some great red zone threats too. Mahomes became the third QB to throw 50 touchdowns or more in a season last year largely thanks to big tight tend Travis Kelce, but Mayfield doesn’t have that great of a target in David Njoku. Njoku is better than a league average tight end, yet he is not in the same class as Kelce and others, dinging Mayfield’s chances.
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