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5 reasons why the Browns made Baker Mayfield the No. 1 pick

Posted Apr 26, 2018

Cleveland tabs the Heisman Trophy winner with the top selection

The process was thorough and the decision was unanimous.

That’s how Browns general manager John Dorsey and coach Hue Jackson described it as they discussed Cleveland’s selection of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 pick.

“Everybody’s draft board is set up differently, and when I recite to you all the best available players in this draft, for the Cleveland Browns organization this was the best available player,” Dorsey said. “I think that what he brings to this organization, I couldn’t be more excited to have him. Those other guys are really good quarterbacks, too. But I just felt that this was the best fit for this organization moving forward.”

Here are some of the reasons why Mayfield rose above the rest.

1. He’s a winner: Mayfield finished his college career with 33 wins over three seasons at Oklahoma, taking the Sooners to the College Football Playoff on two occasions. He won nearly every award under the sun this past season, including the Heisman Trophy. He was one of college football’s best players on one of its best teams, and the Browns believe that success will carry over to an organization that’s starving for wins.

“We, as an organization, thought about all of these different types of scenarios,” Dorsey said. “But at the end of the day, it is how they play the game of football. That came into play, but the guy knows how to play the game and knows how to win.”

2. He’s overcome the odds at every stop: On multiple occasions throughout their post-draft press conference, Dorsey and Jackson repeatedly referenced how Mayfield has earned everything he’s been handed throughout his football career. He went from walk-on to starter as a freshman at Texas Tech. Upon arriving at Oklahoma, again as a walk-on, he immersed himself in the playbook and took over as the starter the moment he was eligible. Now, despite his “outlier” measurables, the Browns believe he’ll do it again as the No. 1 pick.

“He is an individual who as earned it, all the way through his life,” Dorsey said. “As I look at this thing, whatever he has done, from high school to college and now here, he is earning. He has really worked his way up here.”

3. He has all of the traits Dorsey, Jackson covet in a modern QB: Dorsey and Jackson took turns rattling off the specifics they loved about Mayfield’s game and how they believe it will translate to the NFL. His accuracy (never finished a season with worse than a 68 completion percentage), red zone efficiency and quick release stood out the most. In the team’s statistical analysis of the top quarterbacks, Mayfield ranked either first or second in most categories, Dorsey said.

“You know what else separates him? He is hungry,” Dorsey said. “He wants to be a really good football player, and he is going to be a really good football player.”

4. They grew to love him during multiple visits: As the pre-draft process rolled along, the Browns got more and more time with Mayfield. He wowed them on the whiteboard. The relationship grew stronger at every stop, and the entire group that came to an agreement on Mayfield as the best available player felt strongly about what Mayfield could bring to the organization beyond what happens between the lines.

“He really is a neat kid. He is humble. He really is humble. Intellectually, he is a very smart guy,” Dorsey said. “The one thing I realize when you get around him, he loves the game of football. He loves to study football. He loves to play football. He is probably one of those guys as a young man he tried to compete at every sport and he wanted to be the best that he possibly could be. He was like that in high school, he was like that in college and he is going to be like that in the National Football League. He loves the game of football.”

5. They believe he’ll thrive behind a veteran: Unprompted, Jackson reminded reporters that Tyrod Taylor, whom the Browns acquired in a trade last month, was the team’s starting quarterback and the selection of Mayfield wouldn’t change it. Dorsey and Jackson both believe that will be good for Mayfield, who maintained he’ll compete for the job the only way he knows how but understands the situation.

“That is great to have,” Dorsey said. “When you have that guy, he also has to understand that this is a very tough business, and he is fortunate enough to have a coach like Hue Jackson to kind of lead this thing forward and to develop him as a quarterback moving forward. To make this guy the best long term – that is what he is thinking about – you have to teach him to understand to go and play long-term in the National Football League, understand the game of football first. I have always said, in college you play the game and in the pros, you are going to learn the game of football.”

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