The Cleveland Browns are looking up after managing to draw a result from a game that didn’t end with an outright loss for the first time in over a year. They know head to Louisiana to face the New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees, who paid a very high compliment to their new quarterback.
And by new quarterback, I mean the young one. They’re all new to the team, but Brees wasn’t talking about starter Tyrod Taylor. During the week, Brees was asked about the number one overall pick Baker Mayfield, who is currently Taylor’s backup.
“I think he can be a lot better than me”, the future Hall of Famer said of the Browns’ number two quarterback. “Man, he’s got all the tools. He’s more athletic. He can probably run around better. He’s got a stronger arm”.
Brees may not be the most physically gifted quarterback to ever play the game, but he is the most prolific. The 39-year-old has averaged 283.5 passing yards per game throughout his 18-year career, which is the most in NFL history. There are only 13 other quarterbacks who have even averaged 250 yards, Ben Roethlisberger being among them.
The Saints’ quarterback has thrown for 70,884 yards to date, which ranks a close third behind Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. He is likely to overtake both of them over the next four or five games, as Manning is at the top of the list at 71,940 yards.
During that same span, he also figures to become either the third or fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw 500 touchdown passes—again, behind only Manning and Favre. Both he and Tom Brady have exactly 491 touchdown passes right now. Only five players ever had reached 400, and no other has even hit 350.
Did I mention he is also the most accurate quarterback in history? He is averaging a 67 percent completion rate for his career, hitting 70 percent or better in four separate seasons, including an NFL-record 72 percent last year.
So when that guy says that you can be better than him…well, you just take the compliment. And Mayfield did. “Yeah, it doesn’t get much higher than that”, he told reporters yesterday when he was asked about Brees’ praise of the quarterback who has never played a snap in the NFL.
“That’s one of the greatest to play of all time. That’s the guy that I’ve had an unbelievable amount of respect for and looked up to just because of where I’m from first and then size and story as well. So I’ve always enjoyed watching him”.
While the quarterbacks have never met before, they grew up in the same vicinity and have overcome similar criticisms—particularly knocks against their height—to get where they currently are. But Mayfield has a long, long way to go—like decades—to catch up to Brees.