The time is now for the Browns’ quarterback of the future.
Cleveland coach Hue Jackson named Baker Mayfield the team’s starter Monday afternoon, days after the rookie rallied his team to a dramatic 21-17 victory against the Jets in primetime.
Mayfield, who passed for 201 yards on 17-of-23 throws while coming off the bench for an injured Tyrod Taylor, will make his first career start Sunday against the Raiders in Oakland. With poise in the pocket and precise throws, Mayfield helped ignite a second-half comeback against New York in which the Browns came back from a 14-0 deficit.
“That’s why we drafted him,” head coach Hue Jackson said after the game. “We drafted him for that reason. He has that magnetism. He has it. He’s still a young player; got a lot of work to do. Has got to keep working.”
Taylor, whom Cleveland acquired in a trade with Buffalo in March, left Thursday night’s game with a concussion in the second quarter. He was named the team’s starter March 15 after three seasons with the Bills.
Although the Browns planned to sit Mayfield behind Taylor, Jackson made clear last week he’ll do whatever is best for the team.
Mayfield, the former Oklahoma star and Heisman Trophy winner, will command a new-look offense that came to life last week after a slow start to the season. He will be Cleveland’s 30th starting quarterback since 1999.
The Browns, of course, hope he’s the last one for a while.