Baker Mayfield could be in the mix to be the No. 1 pick.
At this time last year, most probably assumed Baker Mayfield would have a statistically impressive senior year, and get picked in the middle rounds. He doesn’t have the same classic profile of a top NFL Draft quarterback as Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen.
Mayfield certainly achieved the first part. He improved his already-crazy numbers across the board.
For his efforts, Mayfield ran away with the Heisman trophy. His Oklahoma Sooners made a trip to the College Football Playoff, falling in overtime to Georgia in the national semifinal at the Rose Bowl.
This fall, Mayfield elevated his profile, and is now in the running to go to the Browns No. 1 overall. With the ever-important combine and pro days still to come, it’s anyone’s guess as to where he will end up.
Sports Illustrated‘s Robert Klemko has been profiling Mayfield as a draft prospect over the last few weeks. In his latest post, he outlined the 10 teams that he thinks have the best chance of taking the Sooners star.
Of course, with the No. 1 (and No. 4) pick, the Browns are a headliner. All four big quarterbacks—Mayfield, Darnold, Rosen, and Josh Allen—seem to be in contentious for that top spot.
Mayfield is probably the late riser of that group. However, according to Klemko, the Browns will have a private meeting with him.
In the quest to land a franchise quarterback, the Browns are doing their homework. Less than three days after the final whistle blew on a monstrously entertaining Super Bowl, the Browns requested a private visit with Baker Mayfield, his first such invite, two league sources tell The MMQB.
With the two early picks, Klemko also ranks the Browns as the most likely team to draft Mayfield.
The Browns have the draft capital to make this happen on their terms, either by trading back deeper in the Top 10, or by pulling the trigger with one of their existing picks. When Hue Jackson has had success with young quarterbacks, they’ve been guys with tons of experience coming out of college and the advanced football aptitude that comes with that. Think Joe Flacco in Baltimore, Andy Dalton and AJ McCarron in Cincinnati; all three attempted more than 900 passes in college and the latter two were four-year starters. Jackson values scheme above all, and he believes his scheme can beat any defense in football with the right brain on the field. Mayfield might just be that brain. He played for three different head coaches over his college career yet improved his production year over year without fail. Jackson’s biggest criticism of former Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer last season was a telling one; Jackson said it was fair to wonder if Kizer would “ever get it.” Likewise, Jackson’s new boss, John Dorsey, puts a high value on football IQ when drafting quarterbacks—he said one of the major factors in the decision to draft Patrick Mahomes out of Texas Tech was his ability to retain playbook information during a six-hour visit with the Chiefs staff. Former coaches say Mayfield has something like a photographic memory, and when he showed up at OU’s campus to battle with Trevor Knight for a starting job, players remarked after the first practices that Mayfield seemed to have a better grasp of the playbook than Knight, the incumbent starter.
He goes on to outline a potential clash of personalities between Mayfield and head coach Hugh Jackson. Still, because of need, the possibility of Mayfield still being around, and the Browns’ flexibility with two early picks, Klemko likes the Browns to eventual tab him as their “QB of the Future.”