The Browns continue to keep the decision on their No. 1 pick a secret, but there is a mounting belief from head coaches and general managers around the league that Cleveland will take quarterback Baker Mayfield, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday.
The Browns hold the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks in the draft, which begins Thursday at 8 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas.
Browns general manager John Dorsey didn’t provide many hints on the team’s draft strategy when he met with reporters last week, saying he expected at least four quarterbacks to be picked in the first round.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper has projected the Browns to select Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen with the No. 1 pick, while ESPN’s Todd McShay believes USC’s Sam Darnold will be the pick. UCLA QB Josh Rosen also could be in the mix.
The Browns are coming off an 0-16 season and have not made the playoffs since 2002, which is the longest active drought in the NFL.
Mayfield, who won the Heisman Trophy at the University of Oklahoma, recently visited with the Browns, and Dorsey referred to him as a “pleasant fella.”
Since returning to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have had 28 different starting quarterbacks — the most in the league during that span.
Mayfield led FBS with a 70.5 completion percentage in 2017, and he set a single-season record by averaging 11.5 yards per attempt. he threw for 4,627 yards with 43 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
Mayfield, who is from Austin, Texas, transferred from Texas Tech to Oklahoma after his freshman season. During his college career, he threw for 14,607 yards and had 131 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions. He also rushed for 21 TDs and caught another during his college career.