I currently believe that the Browns will end up taking Baker Mayfield in the 2018 NFL Draft and most likely with the first overall pick. It is still very early to predict this, but I have several reasons why I believe this will happen.
1 The Browns need a QB- This has been the case for many years now. The Browns have drafted several, but they haven’t drafted one in the top half of the first round since they took Tim Couch first overall in 1999. It is long overdue that the Browns use a top 16 pick to select a QB. There are many QBs to select from this year and I believe Mayfield is a strong candidate. I think the Browns will likely sign or trade for a veteran QB, but I don’t think that will prevent them from taking a QB first overall.
2 John Dorsey- Dorsey is the GM of the Browns and he has said a lot pertaining to the draft QBs so far. One thing he said was he wants a QB who is a winner. Mayfield won a lot of games in college. He also said he will draft the best player available. Mayfield was a great player in college and won the Heisman Trophy. Obviously, a GM needs to project a player on how they will do in the NFL, so it is debatable whether Mayfield will be number 1 on the Browns draft board. Dorsey has scouted many of Mayfield’s games already before he was even the Browns GM. I think this is a sign he likes him. This also makes sense to me because last year when Dorsey was with the Chiefs they traded up to get Pat Mahomes who has some similarities to Mayfield and is also a Big 12 QB. Dorsey has reportedly said he doesn’t want Josh Rosen and it seems Rosen doesn’t want to go to the Browns. I read that Dorsey saw Sam Darnold vs Ohio State, but he did not have a good game that day which could impact his draft stock. Many are saying that Josh Allen is a strong contender for the first pick and I agree. The problem I see with him is his accuracy and whether the Browns are comfortable with that. Some people have concerns about Mayfield’s character, but Dorsey recently defended him. Dorsey has had very positive things to say about all the QBs, recently but he has had a lot of comments about Mayfield.
3 Hue Jackson- Jackson is the Head Coach of the Browns and I could see him liking Mayfield as well. Personally, I do not like Big 12 QBs because they often don’t have long successful careers in the NFL recently for a variety of reasons. Jackson however had Andy Dalton a Big 12 product to work with in Cincinnati. Hue also was key in bringing RG3 another Big 12 QB to Cleveland. Dorsey last year with the Chiefs drafted Pat Mahomes, another Big 12 QB.
4. Jimmy Haslam- Haslam is the owner of the Browns and he will probably have a say in who the Browns select first overall. Haslam was rumored to have a big impact on the Browns drafting Johnny Manziel and somepeople compare Mayfield to Manziel. Haslam will most likely want a QB who will excite the fan base and could potentially turn the franchise around. Mayfield brings a lot of excitement and media attention.
Conclusion- I have no inside knowledge of how the Browns are thinking but my belief right now is that the Browns will very likely consider Mayfield with the first pick. In the next few months we will find out more on what the Browns are thinking. I thought this piece was worth writing because there are so many mock drafts out there right now and there is no consensus on who the Browns will be taking.