The learning curve for rookies applies to even No. 1 draft picks.
Such has been the case with Baker Mayfield, whom the Browns selected first in this past spring's NFL Draft to be their franchise quarterback of the future. In his first public comments since rookie minicamp, the former Oklahoma star Tuesday spoke of acclimating to the speed of the professional game among other dynamics.
"It was inevitable. For me, I'm trying to slow it down," Mayfield said following the team's seventh organized team activity practice. "I'm not going to complete the whole puzzle at once. That's not how it works. I'm trying to get better at one thing at a time and get better every day."
Indeed, the Browns see their future in Mayfield — a former Heisman Trophy winner with an uncanny ability to rally his teammates around him — and are in no rush to play him this season. They traded for former Bills standout and Pro Bowler Tyrod Taylor in March and signed 12-year veteran Drew Stanton not long after that. Jackson named Taylor the team's starter upon the completion of the trade.
So when Mayfield, one of college football's all-time most productive players, worked with the second-team offense for the first time in a practice open to the news media, head coach Hue Jackson played down the development as simply a chance for the youngster to work with more of his new teammates.
"I just mixed it up. There's nothing behind that," said Jackson, who added Mayfield is receiving the same reps as before. "It's just now you're throwing to a different group of receivers because I think that he has to have that chemistry with all of those guys. It was good for him to do that. He did some good things today."
Mayfield echoed a similar sentiment. "It's a good opportunity for me to get different reps with different guys," he said. "You want to learn your players. You want to learn your receivers, what they're good at and get timing down with them. That's just an opportunity to get a feel for everybody and get comfortable with the team."
From developing chemistry with those new teammates to mastering the fundamentals of taking snaps under center, Mayfield has spent the past month or so absorbing loads of information. In the process, he's leaned on the veterans, Taylor and Stanton.
"Great guys. Great guys to learn from. Ty is a little bit quiet, but the things that he says, they mean a lot. How he leads, he leads by example. Just what he says in the meeting room, like I said, it's not a lot, but when he goes through certain things, he knows exactly what he is doing," Mayfield said. "Also, you have Drew who's been doing it for a while. I can sit back there and ask him questions, bounce things off of him, because Ty is in there playing a lot more. It's a great group of guys. They keep it light, but we also keep it competitive. We're trying to get better every day, and they are helping me out tremendously."
Jackson, who has praised the 23-year-old's work ethic on and off the field, believes Mayfield is "right on schedule" as far as rookie quarterbacks go.
"I think that he's doing good. The game isn't too big for him. He demonstrates the ability to throw the ball and make decisions with the ball in his hands and learning our system," he said.
"I think he's on schedule, but is he a finished product? No, he's not supposed to be, neither. He's done everything we have asked him to do. There's still a lot of work to do, a lot of work ahead of him. I think that he gets that and I think that he's excited about that."