NFC South QB power rankings: Where does Baker Mayfield fit?

(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /
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Baker Mayfield
(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

BAKER MAYFIELD. 2. player. 87. . .

Baker Mayfield

This was a tough call between Baker Mayfield and Jameis Winston. But the Carolina Panthers didn’t acquire the quarterback to be middle of the pack – they want someone that can propel the franchise back to relevance and in double-quick time.

Mayfield should be extra motivated to produce the goods. He is in the final year of his rookie contract and has no doubt heard all the bad vibes emerging from the Cleveland Browns in recent weeks.

That’s without considering how poorly Mayfield felt he was treated by the Browns, who emerged as winners in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes despite a possible suspension coming from the NFL.

Of course, expecting Mayfield to be Patrick Mahomes or an elite signal-caller is unrealistic. But if there are no ill effects from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, then a return to his 2020 form that guided Cleveland to their first postseason victory since 1994 is a possibility.

Mayfield is at his best when the chips are down. And there is enough talent within the Panthers’ skill positions and across the offensive line to suggest that strides can be made.

It could all go wrong, obviously. However, Mayfield could also be the best quarterback Carolina’s had since Cam Newton took the NFL by storm.