Four years after the Browns swung (and missed badly) on quarterback Johnny Manziel, they may be preparing to take another shot at the fences, again.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports makes the case for Baker Mayfield to the Browns. Not with the dreaded (by the Browns) 22nd pick in the draft, but with the first overall selection.
Robinson establishes a connection between the Browns and Baker Mayfield by drawing lines between Mayfield and G.M. John Dorsey.
“A lot of what he is as a player fits with the mentality of John Dorsey,” an unnamed source told Robinson. “Just his mental makeup as a player, John believes in building around those kinds of guys. . . . I think he’s a strong candidate [for the top pick] after this week.”
That’s fine, but Dorsey ultimately isn’t the one to watch. It’s owner Jimmy Haslam, who became hopelessly smitten with Manziel — and who could end up becoming equally infatuated with Mayfield. If/when Haslam starts making it clear (without ever issuing any mandates or directives, but then again not issuing mandates or directives is one of the benefits of being a billionaire) that he wants to flip the coin again on a guy with the same moxie as Manziel, it will be hard for Dorsey or anyone else to push back against it.
Haslam defintely moved the Manziel needle in 2014, as sources made clear to PFT at the time and more recently. And Mayfield has plenty of the same positive traits that Manziel possessed. If the Browns can sufficiently ensure Mayfield doesn’t possess any (or too many) of the negative ones, Mayfield could be the pick, possibly as high at No. 1.
The Browns also have the No. 4 overall pick, thanks to the trade that allowed the Texans to move up and get the guy that Browns should have fallen in love with a year ago, Deshaun Watson. So, if they want, they can aim for the moon with a guy like Mayfield and then take the best player available three spots later.
Whatever the Browns do, the stakes are higher than ever. It’s one thing to take a quarterback who busts; it’s another to pass on one who becomes a franchise player. In each of the last two drafts, the Browns did just that by passing on Watson and Carson Wentz. This year, the risk for the Browns is that they could end up doing both.