Analyzing Baker Mayfield’s Potential Fit with the Cleveland Browns

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I remember the moment like it was yesterday.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, after scoring another touchdown against woeful Kansas, taunted the opposing sideline. Not wanting to actually describe what Mayfield did, I’ll just leave it here for your viewing pleasure.

My first reaction upon seeing this –  “looks like a future Cleveland Brown to me.”

Knowing this team’s pathetic attempts at finding a franchise quarterback, why wouldn’t you think the it would be interested in a guy known for some vulgar trash talking against one of the worst teams in the country? After all, this is the same franchise which found the booze-soaked Johnny Manziel appealing enough to invest a first-round pick on.

It should be noted this all occurred before the Browns cleaned out the front office and acquired John Dorsey as the new GM. That said, I still can’t seem to shake the feeling of Mayfield being a favorite to land in Cleveland, mainly due to the fact Dorsey can’t stop raving about him.

With that said, we might as well take a look at what the Browns would get if they were to draft the controversial Sooner QB.

We can start with the positives, because there certainly is a fair amount of those.

In watching Mayfield, it’s tough not to notice two skills right off the bat – arm strength and accuracy. The Heisman winner doesn’t look like he’ll have any trouble making downfield throws in the NFL, as it seemed like every Oklahoma game last season featured his throwing highlight reel bombs. Not only was he able to complete long-range throws, he was also able to hit his wideouts in stride. Anyone watching DeShone Kizer last season in Cleveland knows how badly this team needs more help in the accuracy department.

One of Mayfield’s more divisive characteristics is his on-field attitude. While some see a player willing to motivate his team to win, others see similarities to the cockiness Manziel displayed while he was at Texas A&M.

Personally, I lean more towards the former view. Sure, Mayfield has trouble toeing the line between confident and arrogant. Still, I feel as though the Manziel comparisons are a bit off-base.

I’ll get back to that in a second, because my primary concern is less about Mayfield’s attitude and more about his size.

Currently listed at 6’1″, Mayfield’s height is hardly what you’d call ideal in the NFL. There are many who will point to the success seen by Russell Wilson or Drew Brees as a defense to the size issue, which certainly isn’t wrong. Still, watching Mayfield in the Rose Bowl, I couldn’t get over how small he looked against Georgia defenders. Imagine how much more glaring this issue becomes in the pros.

Of course, heightened interest will be shown towards the Browns when it comes to Mayfield, simply thanks to the fact they previously drafted the man he keeps getting compared to.

I’ll admit I was guilty of comparing Mayfield and Manziel at one point. It’s hard not to. You have two QBs known for having big arms, excellent pocket improvisation skills and a headline-stealing attitude. Toss in Mayfield’s public intoxication arrest from last February, and you can see why everyone is quick to view him as a sequel to Manziel.

The problem with that is how quickly you can debunk the comparisons from there.

Simply put, there are types of things you hear about Mayfield which you never heard about Manziel. The Sooner standout is known for being a first-to-arrive, last-to-leave player who’s quick to develop an understanding of the playbook and seems to be loved by his teammates. Manziel, meanwhile, was known as someone who relied solely on talent, rarely put in the time and effort at practice, and cared more about what was on the post-game agenda than the actual game itself.

To be blunt – Mayfield’s attitude comes from a drive to win. Manziel’s came out of sheer cockiness.

I say all of this still thinking Cleveland should take another route with the first overall pick. Until it appears someone has passed Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold as the top quarterbacks, I’ll maintain my stance the Browns should take one of these two.

However, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t significantly eased up on a formerly anti-Mayfield stance. Should the Heisman winner’s stock continue to rise, I may end up less inclined to hate the idea of him heading to Cleveland.

Casey Drottar is an independent sports writer. Subscribe to his podcast, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook


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