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Browns exec explains why he shifted from Sam Darnold to Baker Mayfield

Throughout much of the pre-draft process, USC quarterback Sam Darnold had been long perceived as being the top choice for the first overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. However, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield had gained traction over the last several weeks that pushed him ahead in the conversation to secure that prestigious spot.

Browns vice president of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith had initially placed Darnold at the top of the list followed by Mayfield than Rosen at the top of the list of best prospects at the position. What became the determining factor was how the Mayfield performed individual workouts with the team, according to Steve Doerschuk of CantonRep.com.

“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.”

Although Mayfield lacks the preferred size for the position at the next level, he performed quite well during his collegiate career at Oklahoma that was topped by his impressive 2017 season that earned him the Heisman Trophy award. He demonstrated to have a great amount of accuracy on his throws along strong decision making.

On top of that, what else became an encouraging factor was that he had the overriding impact on pushing him to the top pick was his power of influence with his strong personality that Highsmith singled out.

“And he had a trait that some of the good ones have. I call it efficacy. That includes the power to (affect) 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.”

All of this has helped Mayfield earn the spot of being the first player off the board where he could become the face of the franchise for the Browns over the next decade. His NFL future in his hands to prove that he was the right choice by meeting those lofty expectations in Cleveland.