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  • Writer's pictureKeoni Eichholtz


Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Start Him

I know. I know. Picking Baker Mayfield as my first start ‘em of the year is pretty much like tossing your wife’s holiday roast in the ocean in the hopes to catch a shark. It might be one of the riskiest and borderline ludicrous picks of the year but bear with me. This is the week to come out and make a bold statement to the rest of your league. It’s your first chance to show you are willing to make the moves that no one else would dare to think of and use it to sucker punch them in the mouth like Mike Tyson did to Ed Helms after a wonderful rendition of “In the Air Tonight”.

Obviously, Baltimore is a scary matchup out of the gate, but that’s what makes this pick so perfect. There is no downside to picking Mayfield. If it happens not to work out, so be it. No one expected it to work, and it can give everyone in your league something to laugh at for years to come. We all need things that spark joy so if you think about it in that way, it’s sort of a win even when it’s a loss. On the other hand, if Baker Mayfield and the Browns are able to go into M&T Bank Stadium and put up big numbers, you will have pulled off the greatest trick since the devil convinced the world that he didn’t exist. Here’s why I think that can be the outcome of this Week 1 matchup.

There have been a multitude of off-season changes that all revolve around Mrs. Mayfield’s baby boy. His offensive line has been better fortified by the acquisition of Jack Conklin from Tennessee at right tackle and their first-round pick of Jedrick Wills Jr at left tackle to protect Mayfield’s blind side. Both are first round picks and help to solidify a young and talented offensive line. Next comes Austin Hooper, transforming the Browns receiving core into an almighty offensive Cerberus. Hooper is coming off a season in which he had career highs in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns and will hopefully trend in that direction again for Mayfield’s sake. Kareem Hunt also just re-signed a sizable deal to continue his tenure with Cleveland to fully Ocean’s 11ify this motley crew of Browns athletes. The last piece of the puzzle that is the Browns is their new head coach, Kevin Stefanski. He has implemented a play action style offense that better suits the playing style of Mayfield.

With enough new elements put in place to make a periodic table, Mayfield has the opportunity to light up the NFL this season and show why there was so much hype around him to begin with. Now that he has been humbled with some lackluster years, I believe he can break through and finally be the performer he is expected to be. That all starts by shocking the world in the season opener. My prediction: 24 completions, 315 yards, 2 touchdowns, 20.6 points.

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