INDIANAPOLIS — Garrett Wilson has already developed a tight bond with Browns QB Baker Mayfield.
Wilson, a top receiving prospect from Ohio State who likely will be a first-round pick in the 2022 draft, has plenty of football experience with Mayfield due to a connection with Lake Travis High School. Both Wilson and Mayfield attended the school, with Mayfield graduating in 2013 and Wilson graduating in 2019.
Wilson, an Austin native, said Wednesday at the NFL Combine that he practiced several times with Mayfield, who's also from Austin, when they were both in Texas during the pandemic. The two have a good relationship considering neither haven't played or the same team — or even the same league — but Wilson certainly expressed interest in furthering that relationship even more at the NFL level.
"Baker's my guy," Wilson said at the NFL Combine. "He was always a little older than me and he would come back and he coached 7-on-7. During the quarantine, we actually threw together a couple times. So I know that Baker's a great player, and we have a good relationship."
The wide receivers speak at their media availability at the 2022 NFL Combine in Indianapolis Indiana
There's a possibility that their relationship could grow even stronger in Cleveland.
Wilson has been one of the most highly mocked players to possibly land with the Browns with their 13th overall pick of the draft. The Browns are likely to seek receivers in the draft and free agency since only three receivers — Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz — are under contract for 2022, and Wilson certainly appears to possess the kind of talent that could help the passing attack take a jump.
Wilson ended his three-year Buckeyes career with his best season yet in 2021 and totaled 1,058 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He, as well as Drake London, Treylon Burks and fellow teammate Chris Olave are among the receivers in the discussion to go first off the draft board, and Wilson is seeking to solidify himself this week Indianapolis as the receiver most worthy to be drafted first.
"As long as it's a good fit," he said. "A team taking a risk on me and believing in me, that means a lot, but as far as what it comes with, I gotta prove myself, like I said, once I get in the facility."
Wilson could be a good fit with the Browns for several reasons. Aside from the need the Browns have at receiver, Wilson, who said he met with Cleveland this week, is capable of playing both the outside and slot positions, which would give head coach Kevin Stefanski the ability to maximize Wilson in the offense. His reliable pair of hands are what the Browns are looking for to boost a passing attack that ranked 27th in the league in 2021.
Add in the fact that Wilson will be able to keep his football roots in the state of Ohio and how he's already built a relationship with Mayfield, and it's easy to see why the Browns could have a heavy interest in Wilson when the first round of the draft begins on April 28.
"I'm open to playing anywhere," Wilson said. "I've been up in Ohio, I've been down in Texas, I don't mind playing anywhere. Can play in the cold, can play in the hot. So I'm excited to see where I end up."
Any receiver, though, would enjoy having some chemistry already built with a quarterback before they take their first practice snap at the NFL level, and that's exactly what Wilson has with Mayfield, who earned the admiration of Wilson after he won the Heisman Trophy in 2017.
Wilson is keeping his sights set on being prepared to play for any team, although for a few brief moments Wednesday, he envisioned himself playing with Mayfield in Cleveland — and that scenario would be fine by him if that's where he lands in two months.
"It would be great to link up with Baker," Wilson said. "Baker's someone that did all the things that I wanted to do. Being a Heisman winner, that's stuff you can only dream about. So watching him ball when I was younger, that was really awesome.
"Having that opportunity to maybe have that happen again would be awesome."