Cleveland Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor insists he isn’t looking over his shoulder at Baker Mayfield, the top overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Taylor also knows that an early draft pick doesn’t guarantee success in the NFL. After all, he was selected in the sixth round of a quarterbacky-heavy 2011 NFL Draft out of Virginia Tech.
“(Ten) quarterbacks were taken ahead of me. Two of them are playing now (Carolina’s Cam Newton and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton). And that’s not any disrespect to the guys who aren’t playing, but what drove me every day was remembering my mom and my parents’ faces and the feeling that I had on draft day, not being happy about that. So I’m going to continue to keep pushing, continue to keep working the way I do,” Taylor said, via Cleveland.com.
“(I’m) ready to take my game to the next level. I think that I’ve been able to take steps in the right direction each year that I’ve been able to play the game. So I’m excited about the opportunity that I have here. There’s so much talent on this team and guys that are in the right mindset.”
Taylor was among a series of moves made by Cleveland in the offseason, acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills in March.
The 28-year-old Taylor guided Buffalo to the postseason for the first time since 1999 last season before being sent to Cleveland for a third-round pick.
Although coach Hue Jackson has labeled Taylor as the team’s starter, he sees plenty of potential in the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
“I think he’s well-equipped and everybody else is creating all of the buzz,” Jackson said. “I think Baker Mayfield is the future of this organization and a tremendous football player. But at the same time, he’s never played a game and never won a game in the National Football League. Tyrod has, so that’s the road we’re going to travel right now, and keep going from there.”
Mayfield’s stock improved dramatically leading up to the draft. NFLDraftScout.com’s senior analyst Rob Rang initially projected Mayfield as the fourth quarterback to be taken, but moved him up to No. 1 in his final mock draft.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a huge learning curve for Mayfield, who passed for 4,627 yards and accounted for 48 touchdowns with just six interceptions while leading Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff last season.