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How Tyrod Taylor plans to quiet the Mayfield noise

By MARY KAY CABOT • Updated May 21, 2018 at 10:55 PM

CLEVELAND — Tyrod Taylor was in "A Quiet Place" when Browns coach Hue Jackson called to tell him the Browns had just drafted Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall.

Literally. He was heading into the critically acclaimed movie in Strongsville when the call came in.

If he had already sat down, he would've missed the big news.

"I wasn't leaving that theater,'' he said.

Actually, during the modern horror thriller, he might have.

"It's not a good movie,'' he said. "It was about 50 words.''

He got more than that from Jackson before the show started.

"He had told me who we drafted,'' Taylor said at the Browns Foundation Golf outing Monday at Westwood Country Club. "I didn't necessarily have a reaction or anything. I appreciate him calling. Whoever was taken, that doesn't necessarily bother me. I welcome him to the team, but my mindset when I first came into the league is prepare each and every day as the starter and continue to keep pushing yourself.

"I'm down here to help turn this organization around and help win games and I'm looking forward to doing that.''

"I was brought here to win games" Tyrod Taylor at Cleveland Browns Foundation Annual Golf Tournament

Jackson, who hosted both Taylor and Mayfield at his table for breakfast before the golf outing, felt it was important to deliver the news to Taylor himself.

"As I said when we brought him here, he's our starting quarterback,'' said Jackson. "Our quarterback should know exactly what we're trying to accomplish and do, and he's still the starter. I wanted him to know we're going to bring Baker aboard, that Baker will compete, but at the same time, I wanted to make sure he knew he had my support just as Baker has my support, just as every quarterback on our team has my support.''

Acquired in a trade with the Bills for a third-round pick, Taylor knows that the movie was the last quiet place he's going to be for awhile. Every time he steps to the podium or is interviewed during camp, he'll be asked about staving off the No. 1 pick. But he's ready.

"Absolutely,'' he said. "It's part of the job. It's part of being a leader, being able to take on questions, even on days that you don't want to take them on. I'm here to help turn this organization around. We have a step for us to take tomorrow (at the start of OTAs) and I'm looking forward to it as well as everyone else."

Jackson is confident that Taylor, who's just a shade taller than Mayfield at 6-1, can block out the noise and handle the onslaught.

"I think he's well-equipped and everybody else is creating all of the buzz,'' he said. "I think Baker Mayfield is the future of this organization and a tremendous football player. But at the same time, he's never played a game and never won a game in the National Football League. Tyrod has, so that's the road we're going to travel right now, and keep going from there.''

Jackson believes Taylor's own path from sixth-round pick out of Virginia Tech to NFL starter will help him cope.

"He's been an underdog himself all of his life,'' said Jackson. "I think people have always counted him out and people have always chased better, and he's always proven otherwise, so I think he'll get an opportunity to do that.''

Taylor, who went 22-20 in three seasons with the Bills and helped snap their 17-year playoff drought last year, acknowledged that the underdog mentality will always drive him.

"I was drafted in 2011,'' he said. "(Ten) quarterbacks were taken ahead of me. Two of them are playing now (Cam Newton and Andy Dalton). And that's not any disrespect to the guys who aren't playing, but what drove me every day was remembering my mom and my parents' faces and the feeling that I had on draft day, not being happy about that. So I'm going to continue to keep pushing, continue to keep working the way I do.

"[I'm] ready to take my game to the next level. I think that I've been able to take steps in the right direction each year that I've been able to play the game. So I'm excited about the opportunity that I have here. There's so much talent on this team and guys that are in the right mindset."

When Mayfield came to the Browns facility for his predraft visit, Taylor made a point of introducing himself and welcoming him. It was a warmer reception than his fellow AFC North rookies Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph received from Joe Flacco in Baltimore and Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh.

As for Mayfield saying that he's "still going to go out and try to win the job" despite Jackson saying Taylor's the starter and 'that's not going to change,' Taylor would've expected nothing less.

"He's a competitor, as well as myself,'' said Taylor. "I think that's what drives us, that's what gets us to the point that we're at now in our career. Like I said, that doesn't faze me.''

This summer, the competition will be played out on HBO's training camp series, "Hard Knocks," which can become a distraction if they let it.

"Absolutely,'' said Taylor. "I think that I definitely have to be vocal about that as far as just making sure everyone stays focused. We're planning on a big season, and we're going to need everyone focused and dialed in each and every day that we come to work."

Would he have been OK with the scrutiny as a rookie QB?

"I wasn't the No. 1 draft pick, so I can't speak on that,'' he said. "I was drafted in the sixth round with no rookie minicamp or anything, so different obstacles are definitely going to be thrown at you. You've got to be able to stay focused."

And when he gets a chance, find A Quiet Place.

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