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Baker Mayfield embraces backup role: 'Being able to sit a year, I need to take advantage of that'


Baker Mayfield may have been the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, but he’s OK with being the No. 2 quarterback on the Cleveland Browns’ depth chart. He opened up on that and much more with former Browns players Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins in an in-depth interview with The Uninterrupted.

Mayfield is expected to back up Tyrod Taylor in 2018

The Browns traded for Taylor ahead of the NFL draft, and Taylor has continued to get first-team reps ahead of Mayfield in OTAs. Head coach Hue Jackson has reiterated that Taylor will be his starter going forward.

And Mayfield seems to be OK with that, telling Thomas and Hawkins the following:

Human nature, just by being a competitive football player, I want to play. But… the best year that I had to experience in college was when I transferred from [Texas] Tech to Oklahoma and I had to sit out. There was so much growth from my freshman year to when I actually played a snap at Oklahoma — was a completely different player…

It’s a matter of what you do with it. And so right now, how can I make myself the best player? And that’s learning from Tyrod and also Drew Stanton… For me, being able to sit a year, I need to take advantage of that. I’m not in control of when I’m gonna play — whenever that’s gonna be — I just need to be ready for it.

It’s a perfect response from the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and exactly what he should be saying. Mayfield played in a wide-open spread system in college, and while he has an impressive assortment of skills that made him this year’s top pick, there’s also plenty he has to learn and improve upon at the next level. Taylor and Stanton — two veterans who both have experience in different schemes and systems — will help, and Mayfield also mentioned he’ll try to learn from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Baker Mayfield is prepared to back up Tyrod Taylor in his first year in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Mayfield on Josh Gordon: ‘People aren’t built like him very often’

Gordon made some headlines on Tuesday when he proclaimed the Browns have “the best receiving corps in the league.”

It’s quite the statement from Gordon, although one can see where he’s coming from. Gordon seems to have turned his life around after his harrowing previous lifestyle. The league’s leading receiver in 2013, Gordon missed all of 2015 and 2016 before being reinstated in 2017. He hauled in 18 passes in an abbreviated five-game stint last year. He’s a game-changer on the outside alongside Corey Coleman, and on the inside, the Browns boast the shifty Jarvis Landry, traded from Miami this summer.

That all leads to a confident star wideout and one very happy rookie quarterback:

We got a lot of receivers who can play ball. Jarvis is a guy who, no, he doesn’t look like JG (Josh Gordon), but he has the mentality and the experience. He just carries himself the right way. He carries himself with ‘I’m a dog. It doesn’t matter how big you are, I’m gonna go out there and I’m gonna beat you.’

Then you look at JG. People aren’t built like him very often, just to be honest. You’ve got a 6-foot-4 guy, around 230 pounds and can run pretty fast. He’s very gifted.

Mayfield said the biggest thing the group is working on now is consistency — consistently being at the top of their game — and building chemistry.

Mayfield tries to model his game after Drew Brees

Mayfield’s favorite quarterback to watch and emulate is the similarly undersized Brees, Mayfield said he admires Brees’ accuracy, movement and command of the team. But when asked about the top five greatest quarterbacks of all time, he went with a different active quarterback: Tom Brady. Following Brady, he listed Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, childhood idol Brett Favre and no real consensus for his fifth spot.

Mayfield covered a wide variety of other topics, too, including his summer plans, his recreation of Favre’s iconic photo, his thoughts on Taylor and much more, during the interview, which can be found below.

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