Although the topic surely won’t be laid to rest any time in the near future – a member of the Browns’ front office brass has addressed the club’s decision to draft Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft over some of the other highly touted quarterbacks that were available.
According to the Cantonrep.com, Alonzo Smith, Cleveland’s Vice President of Player Personnel said throughout the entire college football season, the Browns had planned to take Sam Darnold out of USC with their top pick.
“Here’s the honest to God’s truth,” he said. “From the start of this college football season to the end of the season, I had Darnold No. 1 and Baker No. 2, (Josh) Rosen No. 3, (Lamar) Jackson No. 4 and (Josh) Allen after that.
According to the report, Highsmith, who started scouting alongside GM John Dorsey in the late 90s, ultimately found Mayfield to have the intangibles to not only be a star but a leader – a quality that’s a must for the face of a franchise.
“On our way through everything, you couldn’t tell me Darnold wasn’t the best” Highsmith said. I did all my evaluations of the season.
“Then comes the part where you meet them off the field. You watch their workouts. You watch everything. And Baker blew me away. Highly, highly intelligent. Highly competitive.
“And he had a trait that some of the good ones have. I call it efficacy. That includes the power to effect other people. I thought that of all the quarterbacks I watched, he stood out far and above the other guys. When he walked into a room, you knew he was there.”
Darnold, who is roughly three years younger than the 2017 Heisman winner, was selected by the Jets with the third overall overall pick.
Dorsey’s right-hand man also had an interesting anecdote about why the Browns ultimately passed on Josh Rosen out of UCLA as well.
Only time will tell if the Browns have finally landed their franchise quarterback.