Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward press conference - 4/27

QB Baker Mayfield & DB Denzel Ward:

On Mayfield not wearing his jean shorts to the presser:

Mayfield: “I had to send them back to (Pro Football Hall of Fame QB) Brett (Favre) (laughter).”

On Mayfield’s comparison to Favre and if he has modeled his game after Favre:

Mayfield: “Absolutely. Obviously, that is a humbling comparison, considering Brett and everything that he has done for the game of football. The thing about him that I love is his passion for the game, his winning mentality and his toughness that I have always enjoyed watching.”

On Head Coach Hue Jackson’s comments about Mayfield’s ‘inner strength’:

Mayfield: “When he says that, I would think that he is talking about mental toughness, the ability to fight through things. I would agree that I do have that. You talk about the journey that I have had, it has not been the easiest one, but it has definitely helped me out. There have been a lot of blessings in disguise that have come with it. That is one thing that I think him and I see eye to eye on.”

On Mayfield’s history as a walk-on and becoming the No. 1 pick:

Mayfield: “It is a clean slate. What I have done in the past, I have had a lot of fun and have great memories, but it is starting fresh now. Everybody starts over, and that is what I am looking forward to doing.”

On Mayfield having a different feeling from the chip on a shoulder being a walk-on to the top overall pick:

*Mayfield: *“A surreal feeling. Thinking about how long it has been and where I came from, a very surreal feeling. Definitely not one that I would have imagined back then, but I am happy about it now.”

On Mayfield’s ability to process the game and how that will translate to the NFL:

Mayfield: “The game of football, it is the same. It is just a matter of terminology, language and how they teach it. You are not going to find one guy that is reinventing the wheel, but you are going to find guys that focus on certain things and are really good at it. When we talked about our offense compared to what we want to do here, it is about playing to your strength. Talking about why we did certain things with our personnel with mismatches and just getting up there and letting them know that I am capable of learning an offense. It was not just a typical Air Raid or spread offense that some might put a finger on, but just being able to actually analyze defenses and put our offense in the best position to win. That is what it was all about.”

On if Ward was a Browns fan growing up:

Ward: “I watched more college football growing up, but I am definitely a fan now. Believe that (laughter).”

On Ward returning to Northeast Ohio and playing for the Browns:

Ward: “It is definitely a blessing. It has been my childhood dream to get to the NFL Draft. Watching guys like (Pro Football Hall of Fame CB) Deion Sanders and all of those guys, (Cardinals CB) Patrick Peterson and to actually be here and to go to Ohio State and to come to Cleveland now, it is crazy. It is just an amazing feeling. I’m excited.”

On Ward’s letter from his mother and what it means to him:

Ward: “It means a lot to me. My family and I have been through so much. My family did so much for me, and for them to share this experience with me and for her to share her feelings with me, it means a lot to me.”

On Ward’s emotions on draft night:

Ward: “It was definitely an emotional night. I obviously wish that my dad was still alive and could have been there to experience that with my family and me, but I know he is proud of me and he watched last night in heaven. It was an exciting time. We enjoyed it. I’m blessed to be here with the Cleveland Browns.”

On what was unique about Oklahoma’s offense, differentiating it from an Air Raid or spread offense:

Mayfield: “We were much more focused on running the ball first. If we did not establish the line of scrimmage first and foremost and establish setting the tone with the physicality, then we were not going to have a good game. You can look back at the games that we lost or we struggled, and it was because we did not run the ball well or we were not physical enough with blocking on the outside or just doing our job. It was focused on being physical.”

On Mayfield learning and sitting behind Browns QB Tyrod Taylor after having several high-profile experiences like winning the Heisman Trophy and playing in the Rose Bowl:

Mayfield: “It will be a great thing for me. The best thing – I say it all the time – is what happened at Oklahoma sitting for a year after I transferred to sit there and be able to focus on the physical parts of my body that needed to develop and then the mental side of the game and learning. Now, there is a positive in every situation. Looking at it right here, it is learning from guys like Tyrod and (QB) Drew (Stanton) – guys that have been in it and have seen different things that I can bounce things off of them – and just also watch and learn. It is a great position to be in, especially with an organization like this that has got a lot of moves heading in the right direction. It is an exciting time for me to be here right now.”

On if Mayfield is a ‘first guy in, last guy out’ type of player:

Mayfield: “Absolutely. I think to be at this point right now, you have to be. You have to enjoy it because there is so much work or whatever you call it, grind that you have to love it, to at a point where you do not even think about it that way. For me, it is going to be that way, and I am hoping that it is going to be that way for a long time.”

On what Mayfield loves most about football:

Mayfield: “Being able to compete at the highest level and enjoy it and having fun with it. There is something about competing against guys like Denzel or going up against other people. You work so hard for it for so long and then getting to showcase that for only a fraction on a Saturday or now a Sunday. It is something special.”

On what makes Mayfield a leader:

Mayfield: “I think it starts with actions. Actions always speak louder than words. As cliché as that sounds, it is true. It starts with work ethic. It starts with what you show them during the offseason – how you develop, how you are mentally tough. You show them how passionate you are about the game, how badly you want to win. From there, you can put yourself into a position that you are respected and well liked, and then you can speak your mind and you are able to influence people with you words on top of that.”

On if Ward knew that Cleveland would select him:

Ward: “They did express a lot of interest in me, as a lot of teams did on the visits I went on. I was not 100 percent sure that they were going to go with me, but I am glad that they did.”

On what it was like for Ward to go against QB Baker Mayfield in college:

Ward: “We knew that playing Baker Mayfield he definitely is a mobile quarterback and that he is very accurate. We knew that we were going to be in coverage for a longer period of time, knowing that you have to stay on your man longer and not get your eyes off of your key.”

On what Ward brings to the NFL game, specifically in reference to his size:

Ward: “Even though I may not be the ideal size that a lot of people bring up, I feel like I play big and that my physicality shows on the field, also along with my speed and my ability to play press man to man.”

On if Ward will have any concerns keeping his weight up:

Ward: “It won’t be any concern. Just eat food (laughter).”

On how Mayfield deals with pressure:

Mayfield: “The game of football does not change, no matter the stage that you are on. It could be the practice field or it could be in front of the most people you have ever played in front of. It is still 11-on-11 when it comes down to it. There is still a scheme on both sides. When it was a pressure moment like that, I tried to get our guy to focus on the basics. You do your job, your 1/11th, and you don’t even focus on the rest.”

On the pressure of playing in overtime of the Rose Bowl:

Mayfield: “Just what I said, you do your 1/11th. You do not worry about the situation. You cannot worry about what their offense it doing. You go out there and you do your job. You give it everything you have and you see what happens.”

On Mayfield’s emotions when he was drafted, given many analysts rated other QBs higher than him:

Mayfield: “Hearing your name called or getting that phone call is a moment that I will never forget. I know Denzel would say the same. It is something that there are so many emotions and thoughts that run through your head in that little timeframe. You think about the work ethic and just the journey that it has been just to get to that one moment in time. There is a lot in that one point. It is funny listening to all of that pre-draft stuff because the best part about it is the meetings with the teams, the visits and you get to show them what you are knowledgeable about, where you can grow and who you actually are as a person. It went well, my visit with Cleveland and my meetings with them. I am very excited to be here.”

On the other QB prospects from this year’s draft and if he viewed it as a competition:

*Mayfield: *“They are all very talented guys. There is a reason that they were all in the discussion to be picked No. 1 overall. For me, I do view it as a competition. It doesn’t end there. My journey is just now starting. Not satisfied. I have not played a down yet. Moving forward, you set big goals in the future, but you have to work and accomplish small ones along the way.”

On why Mayfield wanted to play in Cleveland and how to win over Browns fans:

Mayfield: “I think winning the game will take care of winning them over. I did genuinely want to come here. This is a franchise that traditionally is great. They have a great history, and these fans deserve a team that has success. You want to be the guy to lead that. That is just human nature. You want to be that person. For me being as competitive as I am, the bigger the challenge for me, the better for me.”

On what Ward has learned from his family during the loss of his father:

Ward: “Definitely being confident but also being humble throughout the whole process. Going through this process, it can distract a lot of people, but I was taught to always be humble throughout all of those situations.”

On the lesson Mayfield learned after being suspended from the Kansas game and if he will ‘tone down’ his competitiveness:

*Mayfield: *“That was absolutely over the top. There is a fine line. You need to be competitive, but a lot of that you can internalize and use that as motivation to drive you. You do not need to show it all the time. That is something that, like I say, as competitive as I am, I do not need to show it all of the time. I can use that for behind the scenes when nobody is around in the film [room] and the hours you put in. Stuff like that in between the lines, I will be very competitive, but the other stuff, obviously, it cannot happen and I know that.”

On it will be easy for Mayfield to control his competitiveness in that manner:

*Mayfield: *“Absolutely. It is an easy decision to make. It is a blessing to have the responsibility and be in this position. For me, it is a simple choice to make the right decisions.”

On if the Oklahoma offense would work in the NFL and if he sees it in the NFL:

*Mayfield: *“You watch the Chiefs, the Eagles and the Rams, and they have been doing it for a while, the Chiefs especially. They are doing different versions of it – no matter what you want to call it, RPOs, true play-action or bubble screens on top of your run game – it is just a different way to create mismatches with the defense. It puts them in a numbers game. You see it everywhere. It is just a little variations.”

On clarifying the ‘hee hee’ from Mayfield’s workouts that Head Coach Hue Jackson mentioned during the League Meetings:

*Mayfield: *“It is not an actual call. When you get around your guys in the locker room, there is a sense that it is your family. It being one of the last times that I got to throw to them in Norman competitively or however you want to describe it, it was just, ‘OK the show is on right now. Let’s go get it. Let’s go work for it. Let’s go earn it.’ We had our guys, and I said hi to them on the way in. Yelled at them a little bit, not yelling yelled at them but just getting them going.”

On if Mayfield felt like he performed really well in workout and that the Browns could draft him:

*Mayfield: *“I was happy on how I preformed, but at that time, nothing was in my control so I was not going to focus on it too much.”

On if he has anything to say to Ohio State fans after planting the flag at Ohio Stadium:

*Mayfield: *“You guys forget that they came to Norman and whopped up on us (laughter). It is 1-1 so I am going to have to get him (Ward) in practice.”

*Ward: *“Yeah, like he said, we got them the year before, but he got us back though with the flag.”

On NFL analysts saying that Mayfield was the most NFL-ready QB entering the Draft and what he can learn from watching QB Tyrod Taylor:

*Mayfield: *“I think people may say that just based on game experience. How long I was in college seems like I was there for 10 years. Other than that, learning from a guy who has been in the league and has seen defenses who has had to go through the process – I have never done it before so I cannot say that I know how it is done – I can learn from a guy like Tyrod and a guy like (QB) Drew Stanton.”

On off-field lessons Mayfield can learn from Taylor:

*Mayfield: *“He is a guy that blocks out everything. He is a guy that, even with the visits with the Bills and here now, they talk about how he is the earliest here and the last to one to leave. There are no distractions. It is all football. He is focused. That is the type of guy that you want in your locker room that can change the culture real quick. That is why I am excited to be here. It is moving in the right direction.”

On how long it took Ward to develop into a CB after playing on both sides of the ball in high school:

*Ward: *“I am a cornerback. As you said, I played offense at Nordonia, as well, but I always played corner at Nordonia. When I went to Ohio State, Coach (Kerry) Coombs molded me into the corner that I am today and helped me with my technique, footwork and everything. I think I will be well prepared coming into the NFL.”

On if Ward believed that he could be as good as the other Ohio State DBs to be first-round picks:

*Ward: *“Yeah, I had a lot of belief because when I was being recruited, Coach Coombs he told me that he wanted to coach first-round draft picks and win championships. That kind of sold me. When he recruited me, that told me that he had that faith in me that I could go out and do those things with them. I had a lot of faith that I could be that guy, that next first-rounder coming out of Ohio State.” 

On being involved in the Life of Baker videos before the draft:

*Mayfield: *“Just a little behind the scenes. Everybody kind of does there path to the draft type video. Just a kind of variation of that. I wanted a little more inside look. There is a lot more work and whatnot that comes with it than people know. Just a little insight. My story has always been a little different so giving them a little twist on it.”

On the sense of security to be drafted with Ward, who is from the Cleveland area to show him around the city:

Mayfield: *“He already told me that he is taking me to his favorite steak house and it is on him. (laughter).” *

*Ward: *“Yeah, I got him (laughter).”

On how the city will embrace Mayfield:

*Ward: *“I think they will definitely embrace Baker because he is a competitor and he loves to win. Once we start winning, of course they will embrace him.”

On the quote Mayfield said on a podcast, ‘Kill me before I let you win’ and how it describes his competitive nature:

*Mayfield: *“To me, it is a mentality of never giving up. That goes beyond competition. That goes into life in general. It does not matter that cards you are dealt but what you do with those cards. Never complain. Just keep pushing forward. Find the positive in everything and just fight for it.”

*On if Mayfield has grown in maturity and humility, given General Manager John Dorsey said that was the type of person he is: *

*Mayfield: *“Absolutely. I do not think I would be sitting right here unless I had made those strides.”

On when those strides happened:

*Mayfield: *“I just think over time. I have made mistakes but I have also learned from them. I think without those mistakes, later on down the road I might have had slip ups, but now I can learn from them and be able to move forward.”

On his previous actions not necessarily showing humility:

*Mayfield: *“Absolutely. Absolutely, I am not blind to that.”

On what Ward taps into to rise above the emotion of his father’s death:

*Ward: *“Since my dad passed, it was definitely a difficult situation, but the way that my dad, my mom and my family raised me was to be very prideful, but like I said, I am always saying that I am very humble. That kind of carries me just of all what he has done in his life and it kind of motivates me and my family, and it motivates me to be the kind of man that I am today.”

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