DETROIT — From the moment Baker Mayfield first stepped onto the field for the Browns during rookie minicamp in early May to the time his shift ended in Thursday night’s preseason finale, the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft progressed at a rapid rate.

Mayfield made his first NFL start, albeit in an exhibition game, and didn’t throw a touchdown pass in a 35-17 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. But he demonstrated complete command of the offense while playing the entire first half and continued to give the Browns reasons to believe he could develop into a legitimate franchise quarterback.

In Mayfield’s five series against the Lions, who, like the Browns, rested almost all of their starters, he went 9-of-16 passing for 138 yards with a rating of 84.9. He rushed once for 2 yards and didn’t take a sack. More importantly, he often resisted the urge to run by instead keeping his eyes downfield and looking to pass as he maneuvered in the pocket.

He helped the Browns earn a 25-0 halftime lead and then got the rest of the night off as undrafted rookie quarterback Brogan Roback played the whole second half and threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Blake Jackson with 6:55 left in the fourth quarter.

The Browns rested their entire starting defense, eight of 11 starters on offense and some key backups to avoid risking injury with the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on the horizon. Right guard Kevin Zeitler, rookie left guard Austin Corbett and rookie receiver Antonio Callaway were their only starters who played. Zeitler, who’s coming off a calf injury, appeared for only one series before recent free-agent acquisition Earl Watford replaced him.

More than anything, the fourth and final preseason game serves as a last-ditch audition for players on the roster bubble. All NFL teams must reduce their rosters to a maximum of 53 players before 4 p.m. Saturday.

Still, Mayfield was the headliner in Detroit because he’s the future of the Browns, even though he’ll enter Week 1 as their No. 2 quarterback behind starter Tyrod Taylor and ahead of veteran Drew Stanton. Coming off a traumatic 0-16 season, the Browns want Mayfield to watch and learn from the sideline to begin his career, but, in the event of a Taylor injury, they’re comfortable enough with Mayfield to turn to him first instead of Stanton, who’s 11-6 as a starter in his NFL career and went 3-1 last season with the Arizona Cardinals.

The Browns went 3-1 in the preseason, not that it matters whatsoever, and Mayfield played a total of 22 series, two of which he spent with the starters when Taylor missed some time in last week’s 5-0 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles because he suffered an injury to his left, non-throwing hand.

Mayfield finished the preseason 35-of-61 passing for 501 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He posted a rating of 88.2. He ran 11 times for 34 yards and took four sacks.

With Browns General Manager John Dorsey watching the game affectionately known as "the Great Lakes Classic" from the sideline, Mayfield connected with tight end Devon Cajuste for a 41-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. Later during the opening series, the Browns faced fourth-and-1, and rookie Nick Chubb capped the nine-play, 80-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, giving the Browns a 7-0 lead with 10:09 left in the first quarter.

On the Browns’ next possession, rookie receiver Derrick Willies dropped a pass over the middle from Mayfield for a would-be first down in red zone. Two plays later, on third-and-6, Mayfield and Callaway couldn’t connect in the end zone after the receiver got his feet tangled with a defender. Zane Gonzalez made 39-yard field goal to give the Browns a 10-0 lead with 5:42 left in the first quarter.

The Browns produced points on three of Mayfield’s five series.

The third score leads this list of other happenings from the preseason finale ...

Bolstering case

Fourth-string running back Matthew Dayes has a chance to make the 53-man roster largely because of his special-teams play. But Dayes certainly didn’t hurt his cause by rushing for a 42-yard touchdown with 12:50 left in the second quarter, allowing the Browns to take a 17-0 lead. Dayes also had a 19-yard run and gained 30 yards on a catch-and-run. He finished with eight carries for 77 yards (9.6 average) and two receptions for 34 yards.

Dayes, though, hobbled off the field early in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury after he caught a short pass and was tackled. He didn’t return.

This much is crystal clear at running back: Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson and Chubb will make the team.

Don’t forget me

Defensive end Nate Orchard is a player Browns fans know who’s on the bubble. The 2015 second-round pick will likely be an odd man out, especially because 2016 third-round selection Carl Nassib appears to have an edge for a spot.

But Orchard showed he won’t go down without a fight. He intercepted a pass from Lions quarterback Matt Cassel and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown with 28 seconds left in the second quarter.

In a puzzling decision that exposed Mayfield to a hit at the end of the first half, the Browns went for two points. Lions linebacker Jonathan Freeny drew a flag for roughing Mayfield, affording Cleveland another chance after a failed attempt. Then Dontrell Hilliard rushed for a conversion, giving the Browns the 25-0 lead they took into halftime.

O-line watch

Undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison started at left tackle, and free-agent pickup Greg Robinson started at right tackle.

It’s further evidence Shon Coleman will likely be cut in the coming days. It would complete quite a fall for Coleman, a 2016 third-round pick, because he entered training camp as the first-team left tackle and hopeful heir to retired Hall of Famer Joe Thomas.

Both Thomas and Browns radio analyst Doug Dieken, another longtime NFL left tackle, thought Coleman would be able to get the job done, but it didn’t work out for whatever reason.

Coleman played right tackle against the Lions once Robinson was done.

Up and down

Cajuste, who has blossomed into an eccentric TV star on Hard Knocks, caught two passes for 48 yards.

But he also dropped a pass from Mayfield in the second quarter and was penalized for holding on the game’s opening kickoff. Despite becoming an HBO darling, Cajuste is a long shot to survive cutdown weekend.

Other injuries

Linebacker James Burgess left with 9:04 remaining in the second quarter and didn’t return after being evaluated for a concussion. With the Browns cutting linebacker Mychal Kendricks on Wednesday after he was charged with insider trading and admitted guilt in a statement, Burgess’ chances to make the team seemingly increased exponentially. But now he may have a concussion he’ll need to overcome.

Receiver C.J. Board exited earlier in the second quarter with a shoulder injury and didn’t come back. Linebacker Justin Currie suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter and didn’t return.