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Baker Mayfield would embrace being No. 1 pick: 'I want to be the guy for a franchise'

Baker Mayfield believes he's the best quarterback in this year's NFL Draft class. 

As such, the former Oklahoma star and Heisman Trophy winner, said he'd embrace the opportunity to be the top pick this spring and, subsequently, help turn the Browns around after the franchise's first winless season.

"I'd take it, absolutely," Mayfield told NFL Network at the Super Bowl last week. "People talk about, they'd rather fall down in the draft to the right team. No — I want to play somewhere that's a challenge, I want to be the guy for a franchise. I want to be the face of a franchise and I want to turn it around."

Mayfield, perhaps one of the most polarizing prospects in this year's draft, is among several quarterbacks widely projected to be first-round picks. It's a list that includes USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Wyoming's Josh Allen and Louisville's Lamar Jackson.

The Browns, owners of the first and fourth overall selections, will continue their dissection of those signal-callers in search of an elusive long-term answer at the position.

In an interview two weeks ago at the Senior Bowl, new Browns general manager John Dorsey said multiple quarterbacks in this year's class have caught the team's attention. "There are four or five prospects in this class that make you think at least whether they're worthy of that position (at No. 1)," he said. "We're at the beginning stages, let's understand who they are as people, let's understand them as football players, let's see if they can be the face of the franchise and are they the guys for the Cleveland Browns. That's how I look at it."

Mayfield, a former walk-on at Texas Tech who's earned high marks from evaluators for his accuracy, poise in the pocket, mobility and leadership qualities, would appear to be firmly in that mix.  To be certain, he'll face questions regarding his maturity (he celebrated an upset win against Ohio State by planting a flag midfield at the Horseshoe and, later in the year, made a crude gesture during a game against Kansas) and an arrest last spring for public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

Dorsey, asked specifically about Mayfield (who was one of several top prospects on display at the Senior Bowl), played down those concerns. "I think it's a narrative you guys have created. We'll see. I haven't really met him, I don't really know who he is as a person," said Dorsey, who added he was in attendance at the Kansas game prior to joining the Browns' front office in December. "I think after I do meet him I'll be able to see what's deep inside him and see what makes him click and that's part of the process."

That process continues in three weeks at the league's annual scouting combine. Mayfield will have the opportunity to keep making his case.

Asked what kind of player he'll be in the NFL, Mayfield said: "(They're getting) a winner, somebody that cares more about it than anybody else in that building." 

"I'd really do anything for those guys, doesn't matter what team it is," he continued. "They get a winner, they get somebody who really cares about the game and who loves it."

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