Saints QB Drew Brees thinks Baker Mayfield has chance to be better than him

Hue Jackson won't make Brees comparison but Browns hope he'll be the next Brees

Daryl Ruiter
September 12, 2018 - 4:09 pm
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) talks with general manager John Dorsey (right) during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns have high hopes and expectations for Baker Mayfield and so does New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Before the draft Mayfield was compared to former Browns 2014 first-round bust and Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel. With many of those correlations having been dispelled since April, now Mayfield is being compared to Brees.

"Oh, I think he can be a lot better than me,” Brees said on a conference call Wednesday afternoon.

That’s pretty high praise from a Super Bowl champion, 11-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Fame quarterback, who didn’t hesitate to explain Wednesday why he feels that way.

“He has all of the tools,” Brees said. “He is more athletic. He probably could run around better. He has a stronger arm. He has all of the tools.”

Brees has never met Mayfield, but he has tremendous respect for the 2017 Heisman trophy winner and sees the potential that led the Browns to use the No. 1 pick on the former Oklahoma Sooner this past April easily.

“I could not have been more impressed with what he was able to accomplish in college, especially last year,” Brees said. “Really impressed with the way he plays the game. I think he is a great competitor.

“I never met him, so I can’t say that I know him at all, but that just my observations from afar is that I think he is going to be a really good professional quarterback. I love his competitiveness and his playmaking ability.”

At 6-foot-0 and 209 pounds, Brees is an outlier at his position. An exception to the rule. Mayfield, listed just shy of 6-foot-1, is too, which made his selection with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft stunning to many football purists.

“We call it the ‘6-0 and Under Club,’ Brees joked. “All of the 6-0 guys, we kind of know what it is like. We kind of have the chip on our shoulder because we have heard it our whole life. I just kind of chuckle at it. Maybe it is something, maybe it is not. It gives us an edge.”

Brees’ success may have been what opened the door for Mayfield and led the Browns to take a chance at the top of the draft.

“I do take a lot of pride in that,” Brees said. “When I came in the league, my rookie year was in San Diego in 2001, and Doug Flutie was the starting quarterback. You talk about a guy that has overcome the odds on every step of the way with his size and the preconceived notions that people had about his ability to play the position. He played 20 years of professional football at every level – USFL, NFL, CFL and then back to the NFL – and played at a very high level.

“I had a chance to learn from one of the absolute bests in my opinion, especially when it came to just having, at times, to make plays because of your size and maybe certain limitations. He would get the job done. I had a chance to learn form a guy like that. I owe him a lot of credit.”

Browns head coach Hue Jackson isn’t ready to compare Mayfield to Brees, but he can see why many others are willing to.

“Until Baker someday gets his opportunity to play that way, then we’ll see it,” Jackson said. “Obviously being compared to Drew Brees, anybody would be excited about that, but this guy is one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League.

“We hope that’s what Baker will be in the future. That’s the goal.”

Brees, who has completed 67 percent of his passes and thrown for 70,884 yards and 491 touchdowns over his 18-year career, is a proven winner.

Mayfield was a winner in college and the hope is that he will be in the NFL too. Now he’s the next in line to get an opportunity to show that size really doesn’t matter.

“At some point, you just have to look at results, right?,” Brees said. “You have to let your mind go past the measurable –maybe how big a guy is or how fast he runs or that kind of stuff and just turn on the tape, and does the guy compete? Does the guy make plays? Does the guy win football games? Obviously, he has proven that he can do all of those things.”