Mayfield goes first to begin rush on QBs
Arlington, Texas — Quarterback desperation means NFL teams can’t pass on taking a passer — even a flawed one — in the draft.
The Browns, Jets, Bills and Cardinals heeded that notion last Thursday night, even as more highly rated players at other positions remained on the board.
Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield became Cleveland’s latest attempt to find its franchise quarterback. Sam Darnold of Southern California is trying to revive the Jets, while in upstate New York — where the Bills gave up on Tyrod Taylor — the future belongs to Wyoming’s Josh Allen. Just after Buffalo traded up to grab Allen, Arizona moved up to get UCLA’s Josh Rosen, a potential replacement for the retired Carson Palmer.
Four quarterbacks in the first 10 selections. Never mind that the best players were considered Penn State running back Saquon Barkley (second overall to the Giants) and North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb (fifth to Denver). The last pick of the first round was a fifth quarterback: 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, chosen by Baltimore.
In today’s NFL, it’s all about the QBs. Even though none of these is considered a sure success.
“They all had something, a knock on (them),” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said. “We just think (Allen’s) makeup is going to help him work on his flaws. That’ll be part of our job here to accentuate his strengths.”
Same deal in Cleveland, the Meadowlands and the desert.
The Browns’ nearly two-decade search for that quarterback led them to Mayfield. Until the last few days, the Oklahoma product was considered a longshot to be the top pick. He goes from a former walkon to No. 1 overall. Mayfield is the first Heisman recipient taken first in the following draft since Cam Newton went to Carolina in 2010.
Mayfield was not at AT&T Stadi- um, leaving Commissioner Roger Goodell on stage, hearing cheers cascade throughout the building after announcing the Browns’ choice. It was one of the few times Goodell heard cheers.
Goodell is despised in Dallas after he ruled that Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott should be suspended for six games last season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
More booing accompanied the next pick, but not for Goodell: Dallas’ archrival the New York Giants chose Barkley, considered the best talent in this year’s class. It capped quite a few days for Barkley, whose girlfriend gave birth to a baby girl earlier this week.
Darnold, pegged by many to be the top pick for months, went third to the other New York team.
Buffalo traded up with Tampa Bay to get Allen at No. 7. Allen is considered the passer with the most upside.
The Cleveland Browns took Baker Mayfield with the first pick in the NFL draft. Denzel Ward was picked fourth.