Throughout the 2018 NFL Draft process, which quarterback would be selected first seemed totally up in the air. Some rumors indicated it would be Wyoming's Josh Allen, others UCLA's Josh Rosen or USC's Sam Darnold. Late in the process, 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield began shooting up the charts.
In the end, Mayfield went No. 1, as the Browns turned to the former Oklahoma Sooner in hopes that he can turn the troubled franchise around. Mayfield, however, was not always the top QB on all the Browns scouts' radar. The team's Vice President of Player Personnel, Alonzo Highsmith, revealed as much in speaking with the Hall of Fame Luncheon Club.
"From the start of this college football season to the end of the season, I had Darnold No. 1 and Baker No. 2, Rosen No. 3, (Lamar) Jackson No. 4, and Allen after that. On our way through everything, you couldn't tell me Darnold wasn't the best. I did all my evaluations of the season. Then comes the part where you meet them off the field. You watch their workouts. You watch everything. And Baker blew me away. Highly, highly intelligent. Highly competitive. And he had a trait that some of the good ones have. I call it efficacy. That includes the power to effect other people. I thought that of all the quarterbacks I watched, he stood out far and above the other guys. When he walked into a room, you knew he was there."
Mayfield is known for his charisma. He's a confident guy. Clearly his personality played a role in the Browns drafting him.
Darnold, who is three years younger than Mayfield, is viewed as a project, but his talent is extraordinary. The Jets selected him No. 3 overall.
Allen went next, with the Bills selecting him No. 7. Rosen fell to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 10. Jackson was the last QB off the board, with the Ravens taking him No. 32.
Mayfield will start third on the Browns' depth chart, behind former Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor and veteran Drew Stanton, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he was given an opportunity to compete for the starting job.