With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns have selected former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield. And with that development, the legend of the two-time former walk-on and lightly-recruited high school prospect continues to grow.
The thought of a young quarterback like Mayfield starting his career with the Browns isn’t exactly an exciting proposition. However, if anyone can potentially have a positive impact on the culture of a historically toxic franchise, Baker is the dude. Many of the things that many pundits try to use against the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner are actually keys to his success. They call it cockiness, but Baker and those around him call it confidence. He’s the type of person who will get a locker room to rally behind him, and he has the makings of a future folk hero of Northeast Ohio. If — and it’s a big if in Cleveland — Mayfield eventually ends up having enough around him to do the unthinkable, consider the unthinkable done.
"He can transform a locker room. He has enough self-belief to turn a franchise around." @LincolnRiley on @bakermayfield #OUDNA— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) April 26, 2018
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As far as his future at the position is concerned, height is pretty much the only knock on the guy. Because of that, the offense may require a few small tweaks to accommodate the new QB, but that wouldn’t exactly be unprecedented. Apart from that, the Browns are getting one of the most accurate and efficient passers you’ll see. His efficiency at Oklahoma (he actually set the FBS record for passing efficiency in each of his final two collegiate seasons) can be partially attributed to Lincoln Riley’s offensive scheme, but his accuracy, poise and football IQ are what truly made that offense roll for the past three seasons. He’s also a tireless worker in the film room and absorbs information as well as any quarterback in the draft. Yes, he’ll have to adjust to a new scheme, but does anyone doubt him in that regard.
The mere mention of Mayfield’s destination obviously induces groans. There’s no denying that. Hell, RJ even implored Cleveland not to draft our guy. However, the Browns actually have some promising talent on that roster, and that situation will get even better after these early rounds. For all of his faults, Cleveland GM John Dorsey is giving that fan base a glimmer of hope and is slowly constructing something that might not be a complete embarrassment for too much longer. Additionally, Baker won’t be thrown into the fire right away, as the Browns traded for Tyrod Taylor just last month. The opportunity to stand on the sideline and learn the ropes before taking the reins could definitely prove beneficial.
So, I guess this means I have to follow the Cleveland Browns now? I’m tortured enough as a sports fan. I’m not looking forward to sitting on the edge of my seat while watching a team that rocks brown and orange, consistently underwhelms and represents an organization that has ruined many a promising career. But... GO BROWNS! I’ll roll with Baker Mayfield any day of the week — perhaps even if he’s playing my Chiefs.