NFL rookie recap: Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold turn in up-and-down Week 3's

Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield (Getty Images)

Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold are the quarterbacks of the future for the Browns and the Jets, respectively. At least Cleveland and New York hope they are.

They both showed glimpses of why they have the potential to be just that in their third preseason games this week. Mayfield threw several perfect balls in great situations and Darnold used his legs to show off his versatility.

However, they also had tougher moments, especially Mayfield, as he saw time with the first team when Tyrod Taylor went out with an injury.

Here’s your rookie recap from Week 3 of the preseason.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns

Stat line: 8-of-12 passing, 76 yards, 1 INT

It’s undeniable that Baker Mayfield can make the throws to succeed in the NFL. However, there were still some questions as to whether he could do it against an NFL team’s No. 1 defense. Those questions weren’t because people thought he couldn’t do it, but because he simply hadn’t yet.

Mayfield got his first shot to show his stuff against the Eagles when starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was forced to leave in the first quarter after suffering a hand injury. The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner promptly showed he can make throws against the highest level of competition.

The 2018 No. 1 overall pick dropped a perfect pass into receiver Rashard Higgins and showed the makings of an NFL QB. He looked off the safety to the left, then he made a beautiful deep out throw on a line over a linebacker’s head — the definition of an NFL throw.

He did have a bad moment later in the game, though, as he forced a throw to a spot when his receiver had been knocked off his route and was picked off by fellow rookie Avonte Maddox. You’ll take the good with the bad in this league, and Mayfield had a lot of good finishing 8-of-12 passing for 76 yards with no touchdowns and that lone interception.

Nick Chubb, RB, Browns

Stat line: 14 carries, 46 yards

Nick Chubb may not be getting any attention on Hard Knocks or from anyone else in the media, but Cleveland’s rookie second-string running back is NFL ready and showed it with a first quarter run.

Chubb may not be the biggest, fastest, quickest or strongest running back in the league, but he will be a solid pro. He finished with 46 yards on 14 carries.

Royce Freeman, RB, Broncos

Stat line: 5 rushes, 26 yards, 1 TD

Royce Freeman is likely to get a good number of first-team reps with the Broncos this year and touchdowns like this one are why.

Ronald Jones, RB, Buccaneers

Stat line: 6 carries, 7 yards, 1 catch, 37 yards

Jones had trouble on the ground, but he showed his versatility by hauling in a beautiful pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick on a wheel route for a 37-yard gain.

Sam Darnold, QB, Jets

Stat line: 8 of 16 for 86 yards, 1 TD, 2 rushes, 13 yards

Sam Darnold has some maturing to do as he showed by completing just 50 percent of his passes Friday, but his ability to extend plays and even pick up first downs on third and long with his legs show just how high his ceiling is.

Mo Hurst, DT, Raiders

The Raiders may have gotten the steal of the draft as they grabbed Mo Hurst out of Michigan with the 140th-overall pick (5th round) of the 2018 Draft. He would have been a first rounder had a heart condition not been a red flag to teams. He showed his skills when helping out on a sack in the first half.

Avonte Maddox, CB, Eagles

Stat line: 1 tackle, 1 interception

Remember when we mentioned Maddox’s interception? Well, here it is.