Baker Mayfield, the hard-charging Pied Piper of Oklahoma football, was brought to tears by a phone call from Browns general manager John Dorsey.
"Baker? It's Mr. Dorsey. How are ya," Dorsey said Thursday night shortly after the start of the 2018 NFL Draft.
"Let me ask you a question — I've got you on speaker phone here: Do do you wanna be the first pick in the draft?"
"Yeah, I do," Mayfield said, his voice breaking.
"Yeah, I do."
"Well buddy boy I want you to get excited here."
Mayfield, an undersized two-time walk-on who won the Heisman Trophy last season, defied the odds once again when Cleveland selected him first overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, tabbing its franchise quarterback of the future.
Watching the draft unfold surrounded by family and friends at home in Austin, Texas, Mayfield was overwhelmed by the moment. The ultra-confident signal-caller with a Lake Erie-sized chip on his shoulder finally broke down.
"Fifteen minutes prior to that (call), I had been looking around my house and seeing who I was surrounded by, people from all different stages of my life who have helped me get to get to where I am," Mayfield said on a conference call.
"It brought out all of the emotions with the tough times that we had went through and the good ones. To think that they were all there in that moment for wherever was going to be the fresh start, it was then a whole lot of emotion packed into one phone call so when (Dorsey) asked me [if I was ready to be the No. 1 selection], it was an emotional thing for me."
A little-regarded recruit out of Lake Travis High School, Mayfield bet on himself and walked on at Texas Tech. After an injury and slide down the depth chart, he transferred to Oklahoma and sat out the 2014 season. In three years, he completed a record 70 percent of his passes for 12,292 yards 119 touchdowns and just 21 interceptions.
Mayfield, perhaps one of the most polarizing players in the draft, comes to Cleveland following the franchise's first winless season and a 1-31 mark over the past two years. The plan is for him to sit and learn behind veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor, whom the team traded for at the start of the league year, and sharpen his craft.
Whenever Mayfield is called into action, the Browns believe he'll rise to the occasion.
"Here is how I look at this: In doing all of our research on Baker Mayfield, he's an individual who has 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's earning (it). He's really worked his way up here."
Coach Hue Jackson added: "I think the other characteristics that a young man must have to come here to play quarterback is you must have some inner strength. This man has that. As you look back through his history, he has had to earn and fight through every situation to be where he is today. I don't suspect that he will do anything here than that."
At the very least, Mayfield is grateful for the opportunity.
"When we called him up on the phone – I will say this and he is going to get embarrassed and mad at me tomorrow –here is how humble he is, he was in tears," Dorsey said. "He was so excited. That to me speaks volumes of how much he cares and how passionate he is about this game. He's excited to be here."