May­field goes first to be­gin rush on QBs

Packer Plus - - News - Barry Wilner AP PRO FOOT­BALL WRITER

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.

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