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2018 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Pick QB Baker Mayfield at No. 1

The Browns select their quarterback of the future.

Rose Bowl Game - Oklahoma v Georgia Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns fans, meet your new franchise quarterback.

After keeping the decision extremely tight-lipped over the past few months, with the first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, general manager John Dorsey selected QB Baker Mayfield (6-1, 215 lbs, Oklahoma) Thursday night.

In back-to-back years, the team has taken DE Myles Garrett and now a quarterback of the future with the first overall picks. If they can’t turn the franchise around after this, what else is there left to try?

Scouting Reports

When the staff at Dawgs By Nature compiled our Browns big boards, Mayfield was cumulatively listed as the No. 1 player on our big boards. Here is a scouting report from CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler:

A three-year starter at Oklahoma, Mayfield arrived in Norman at the same time as Lincoln Riley (offensive coordinator in 2015-16, head coach in 2017), forming a lethal offensive tandem with the Sooners’ up-tempo, spread scheme that resulted in a 34-6 record over the last three seasons, including two College Football Playoff appearances and three Big 12 Championships. With his awards and accolades, he has an extensive resume and is the only player in FBS history with 13,500+ passing yards and 1,000+ rushing yards and set a Big 12 record with a touchdown pass in 40 straight games (every game of his OU career). Although his ordinary height and body type aren’t ideal, Mayfield has a NFL-level arm with developed touch and accuracy downfield that translates very well to the pro game.

One of Mayfield’s best traits is his playmaking ability outside of structure, using his scrambling instincts to improvise when the pocket breaks down. He appears crazed in his movements, but Mayfield has the mental processing speed to stay composed. He is the type of fearless, locked-in competitor that you don’t bet against, but his maturity level is a concern because he doesn’t know how to turn off his competitive nature – it’s how he is wired on and off the field, leading to situations of questionable judgement. Overall, Mayfield’s brash personality won’t be ideal for every situation and his long-term durability is a concern, but he has the necessary passing traits, both physical and mental, to be a winning starter in the NFL, stylistically similar to Jeff Garcia.

Here is what Pro Football Focus said about Mayfield:

At some point, Mayfield’s on-field production is too difficult to ignore and that’s what makes him a first-round talent. He has enough arm to make NFL throws and he’s shown the ability to make plays both within and outside of structure. While he could stand to speed up his process on certain plays, Mayfield’s accuracy, decision-making and natural playmaking ability make him the best quarterback in the draft, and only a few inches of height have instilled doubt in NFL decision-makers.

Here are some quotes from scouts’ assessment on Mayfield, as collected by long-time NFL writer Bob McGinn:

  • “He reminds me of a shorter version of Brett Favre,” Scot McCloughan, who went to work for the Browns last month as a consultant, told Fox sports radio. “Tough guy. He can throw it. He’s very confident, and he’s not afraid whatsoever … whatsoever. He’s a battler. I know saying Brett Favre’s a big name, and I was around him for a while, but this guy has talent.”
  • “He’s got an arm, he’s got vision, he’s got toughness, he’s got poise, he’s got leadership, he wins. If he was 6-2 there wouldn’t even be a question he’d be the No. 1 (overall pick). Russell Wilson is very much a comparison.”
  • “The coaches there (Oklahoma) say he’s not (Johnny) Manziel but I see Manziel. He’s bigger and stronger but not as fast or as quick. He’s short, his game’s outside the pocket and he’s not Drew Brees or Russell Wilson. He holds the ball. I think he has some problems seeing in the pocket. When he runs he doesn’t slide. In the NFL, when you play the game outside the pocket, eventually you’re going to get hurt.”

Dawgs By Nature Film Breakdown

We did a full film breakdown on Mayfield, which we encourage you to check out here so you can see more about his strengths and weaknesses.

How He Fits the Browns

The Cleveland Browns needed a franchise quarterback, period. Mayfield will sit for the first season behind QB Tyrod Taylor, who was acquired from the Buffalo Bills this offseason. Taylor will provide a stable presence, and then we’ll see how things look for the 2019 season — whether Taylor earned another year, or if it’s time to switch over to the rookie.

React Now

What do you think, Browns fans?


How do you grade the Cleveland Browns’ selection of QB Baker Mayfield at No. 1 overall?

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  • 34%
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