Cleveland Browns: Final 2018 player rankings start with Baker Mayfield

Cleveland Browns Baker Mayfield (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns Baker Mayfield (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns Baker Mayfield (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

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1. Baker Mayfield: Life gets easier when an organization has a franchise quarterback and the Browns finally have in Mayfield. The rookie took huge strides after the flame of discontent between Hue Jackson and Todd Haley was sniffed out.

Mayfield has six wins as a starter, although he might as well as that seventh, too, as he got the win in relief of Tyrod Taylor during Cleveland’s Week 3 win against the Jets.

Mayfield’s 27 touchdowns are the most thrown by a rookie in a single season. He surpassed Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson (26) to put his name atop the record book.

Browns’ town is now Baker’s town. Enjoy the ride.

2. Myles Garrett: It’s only year two, but Garrett’s on track to become the Browns best defensive player of all time.

It’s amazing that in the Browns’ storied history, the organization has never really had a great defense. Perhaps Garrett will be a part of what changes that.

His 13.5 sacks trailed Browns’ single-season sack leader Reggie Camp by just a half.  Camp recorded 14 in 1984.

3. Nick Chubb: You’ve got to be able to run the ball in the AFC North and Chubb’s game is made for hammering the ball inside the tackles. Plus, he’s capable of kicking it outside and he can he can catch a pass out of the backfield, making him a dangerous every-down back.

4. Denzel Ward: If you’re going to talk about Garrett making the Browns’ defense great, you’ve also got to talk about Ward, the rookie from Ohio State.

Under GM John Dorsey, the Browns finally bucked the trend of avoiding Buckeye players and they’ve been rewarded in the first-year corner.

Ward suffered two concussions this season, though, after incurring none during his collegiate career.

Durability will be something to watch in his career because he doesn’t shy away from contact.

5. Joel Bitonio: Pro Football Focus’ fourth rated guard entering the regular-season finale.

The Browns looked at Bitonio to fill in for tackle during Training Camp after Joe Thomas retired, but the organization ended up wisely keeping the former second-round pick at his best position.

By far, former GM Ray Farmer‘s best draft pick.