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When the Cleveland Browns made Baker Mayfield the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the team was confident that they finally had a player who could led them out of the doldrums that had hindered them since their rebirth into the league in 1999.
Mayfield, like many young players, had his share of ups and downs over his first three seasons, but the last two years, he’s thrown for 49 touchdowns and finally appears to be the player who can lead Cleveland.
When he takes the field as the starting quarterback opening day in 2021, he’ll become the first Browns quarterback to start in three consecutive season openers since the franchise came back in 1999.
The Browns haven’t exactly had much to choose from when it comes to opening day big-name starting quarterbacks. There have been just a small handful of Browns quarterbacks who have started at QB in consecutive season openers: former Kentucky No. 1 overall pick Tim Couch (2000/2001), veteran journeyman Kelly Holcomb (2002/2003), local product Charlie Fry (2005/2006), and another first-round pick Brandon Weeden (2012/2013).
Many are predicting that Cleveland is going to be one of the top two or three AFC teams in 2021, and Mayfield’s success is going to be paramount for the team to make it to the next level.
Making it there starts on opening day. The team is 1-20-1 in Week 1 since they returned to the league in 1999, with some of the most gut wrenching losses in football to begin their season.
In 2021, look for Mayfield and the team to try to get off to a fast start and for the team to lean on their franchise QB to get them there.