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Is There Value on Baker Mayfield for OROY as he Heads into Cincinnati Week 12?

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in NFL Football

Updated Mar 27, 2020 · 6:45 AM PDT

Baker Mayfield Browns QB
Baker Mayfield is coming off his bets start as a pro, throwing for 216 yards and three TDs, good for a 151.2 passer rating. Photo by Erik Drost (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • Books see the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as a two-horse race between Saquon Barkley and Baker Mayfield
  • Mayfield leads all rookie QBs in passing yardage (1,984) 
  • Barkley leads all rookie RBs in rushing yardage (728)

Baker Mayfield is thriving under the new leadership of the Cleveland Browns.

Since head coach Hue Jackson was handed his walking papers, Mayfield has enjoyed two of the best games of his NFL career under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens.

It was enough to move 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick Mayfield strongly into the conversation for the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year.

Odds to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Player Odds
Saquon Barkley (Giants) -200
Baker Mayfield (Browns) +200
Nick Chubb (Browns) +1100
Phillip Lindsay (Broncos) +2500
Calvin Ridley (Falcons) +2500

Barkley, the odds-on favorite since the preseason, is still in the driver’s seat, but Mayfield looms larger in his rear-view mirror with each passing week.

Is Baker Concocting a Winning Recipe?

Mayfield is growing stronger and more confident as the season progresses and it shows in his numbers and his swagger.

He’s thrown nearly twice as many touchdown passes (13) as interceptions (seven), tossing for nine TDs in his past four games.

In his most recent start, the Browns QB threw for a career-best three TDs in a 28-16 win over Atlanta. Mayfield leads all rookie passers in yardage (1,984), TD passes, completions (176), yards per game (248.0) and passer rating (85.7).

Can He Surpass Barkley?

Barkley tops all rookie rushers with 728 yards and seven TDs, and is coming off the best game of his NFL career, a 142-yard performance against Tampa Bay, along with three TDs -two on the ground and one through the air.

That’s just it – Barkley is more than a runner.

He has 64 receptions for 540 yards and three TDs.

Barkley is on pace to become just the third rookie rusher in NFL history to gain 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Barkley could even challenge Eric Dickerson’s NFL rookie record of 2,212 yards from scrimmage.

It’s Saquon’s To Lose

As much as Mayfield is trending upward, Barkley isn’t fading in the least. The Giants revamped their offensive scheme to accentuate his unique skill set.

Recent history is also on Barkley’s side. Two of the last three and three of the last five NFL OROY were running backs. Just one of those five winners was a quarterback – Dak Prescott of Dallas in 2016, after he led the Cowboys to the postseason.

If this were the 1978 Triple Crown, Barkley would be Affirmed and Mayfield Alydar. Yes, he will be a close second . . . but he’ll still be second best.

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