Baker Mayfield is Proving He Was Crowned Too Early

Los Angeles Rams v Cleveland Browns
Los Angeles Rams v Cleveland Browns / Jason Miller/Getty Images

Baker Mayfield and his Cleveland Browns have stumbled out of the gates with a 1-2 record and have raised a ton of questions concerning the future of the franchise. Mayfield himself has looked nothing like the quarterback who was supposed to take Cleveland's football team to the next level. Instead, three games into his second season, the reigning PFWA Rookie of the Year is looking like a one-hit wonder.

Through three games, Mayfield has been, at best, an average quarterback. His numbers are terrible when you compare them to his rookie year. He has completed just 56.9 percent of his passes for 805 yards, with three touchdowns and five interceptions. His quarterback rating (70.3) ranks 31st in the NFL, and his QBR (40.5) ranks 21st.

The Browns, who rely heavily on their quarterback in head coach Freddie Kitchens' offense, have looked completely out of sync on that side of the ball this season. In losses to the Titans and Rams, Cleveland's offense mustered just 13 points in each matchup, and in a win over the hapless Jets, it scored just 23.

Mayfield was decisive and smart with the football as a rookie. He's been a different guy so far this year. He bails out of the pocket at the first sign of trouble and has held the ball far too long when he does stand in the pocket. His strengths coming out of Oklahoma were his accuracy and ability to make quick reads and decisions. Those qualities have yet to reveal themselves in 2019.

While Kitchens looks completely lost as a head coach, Mayfield looks equally adrift trying to run the team's offense. I'm not sure what changed in the offseason, but the Browns need to figure this all out.

The AFC North appeared there for the taking before the 2019 season kicked off. The Pittsburgh Steelers were aging, the Cincinnati Bengals looked terrible and the Baltimore Ravens had plenty of questions to answer about their own young quarterback. With the moves they made in the offseason, the Browns appeared poised to take command of the division.

Three weeks into the season, the Ravens look like the clear class of the North, while the Browns are floundering alongside the Bengals and Steelers.

Mayfield and the Browns' offense need to turn things around immediately if they want to live up to their lofty preseason expectations. If they can't, it's clear we all elevated them into the rank of contenders far too early.