Baker Mayfield would’ve made Bruce Springsteen proud during his NFL preseason debut, playing in The Boss’ old stomping grounds of New Jersey.
The former Oklahoma quarterback certainly showed flashes of his glory days, and perhaps a glimpse of more to come.
Mayfield completed 11 of 20 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns in his first significant action with the Cleveland Browns, who picked him No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft and opened the preseason against the New York Giants on Thursday.
Mayfield’s first possession under center lasted three plays before a punt, but the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner led a 14-play, 72-yard touchdown drive in his next opportunity. That included converting a third-and-18 pass, a fourth-and-2 run and a 10-yard touchdown throw to David Njoku into triple coverage.
Much of it looked familiar to Sooner fans who witnessed his three seasons in Norman. Mayfield was light on his feet in the pocket and comfortable under duress, which was frequent.
“Baker settled in. I liked what I saw in the pocket. He was bouncing up in the pocket, not panicking,” NFL Network studio analyst Kurt Warner said.
Mayfield, who exited with about 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter, delivered his first touchdown pass through an especially tight window. Said NFL Network analyst James Jones: “You saw the progressions. He’s looking to his right, one, two. Comes back to number three, makes a nice throw into the back of the end zone where only his guy can get it.”
Browns starter Tyrod Taylor was sharp while playing just two series, completing all five of his passing attempts for 99 yards and a score.
Cleveland’s preseason continues at home with Buffalo on August 17.