Day 1 of the NFL Draft wasn’t 10 minutes old when the Cleveland Browns managed to select the one man in the world they needed to avoid, another Mistake on the Lake for this troubled franchise.
With the first pick in the draft and numerous great options, the Browns decided to jump in Lake Erie by picking quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Incredible. This organization learned absolutely nothing from the past. The Browns are still the Browns.
The only player the Browns had stay away from, given their past dumpster fire with quarterback Johnny Manziel, was Mayfield. With a draft full of great quarterbacks, why in the world take a guy who may have maturity and character issues? Dumb and Dumber.
Mayfield is talented, gritty, determined and a proven winner, which is why he won the Heisman Trophy last season while leading the Oklahoma Sooners. For Cleveland however, the red flags and the similarities to the Manziel disaster should have made Mayfield off-limits from its draft board.
Everyone knew Manziel, also a Heisman winner, was a behavior risk when the Browns drafted him in the first round in 2014. The problems continued with immature gestures on the field and issues with excessive drinking and partying off the field. It eventually led to rehab and he was out of the league after two seasons.
Mayfield isn’t Manziel (some say) but Mayfield also has well-known issues, childishly taunting opponents and a previous arrest for public intoxication.
For the long-suffering Cleveland fans, I hope Mayfield is a model citizen and everything the Browns believe he can be as an NFL quarterback. Maybe it will work out, but why take the chance?
The New York Giants high-fived and should send the Browns a thank you note. The Giants used the second pick to take the best player in this draft and possibly the best running back in a generation in Saquon Barkley of Penn State. Giants quarterback Eli Manning just got five years younger.
And the New York Jets, with the No. 3 pick, also jumped for joy knowing they got their man in USC quarterback Sam Darnold, a huge talent and a respectable young man, making him a much safer pick than Mayfield.
The Browns had the fourth overall pick and blew it again, although not as bad as Mayfield. They selected Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward. A fine player and a home-grown guy, but not the right pick.
There were better options _ North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb, who went to Denver one pick later, or Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, the sixth player picked.
It’s all an avalanche effect from picking Mayfield first. Four quarterbacks went in the top 10, including Wyoming’s Josh Allen at No. 7 to Buffalo and UCLA’s Josh Rosen at No. 10 to Arizona.
The right decision for the Browns was to take Barkley first and the best quarterback still on the board at No. 4. They probably could have gotten Mayfield at No. 4, although it still would have been the wrong decision for them over the other QBs.
Maybe when we look back on this in two or three years, Mayfield is a class act and a Pro Bowl player, and the Browns finally can have an “I-told-you-so” moment. Or maybe Mayfield is the person we’ve seen in the past and it will go down as another reason for fans to say the Browns just don’t get it.
Whatever happens, it wasn’t worth the risk.