CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has heard the criticism.
He’s too short. He’s too much like Johnny Manziel. He played in the single-read Big 12. He’ll never make it in the NFL.
And he simply shrugs it off.
“Despite what’s happened in college, despite what I’ve done, it doesn’t matter,” Mayfield said in an interview with Bull and Fox on 92.3 The Fan from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama Wednesday. “That’s all out the window. I gotta start fresh and right now the label is a short guy that – the measureable stuff – they look at and say ‘can’t play [in the] NFL [at] QB’ and so I gotta try and prove them wrong.”
With the Browns holding the first and fourth picks in the NFL Draft, Mayfield is among the players general manager John Dorsey will consider with their top pick.
Mayfield didn’t hold back when asked what the Browns would be getting if they turn in a card with his name on it.
“They’re getting a winner,” Mayfield said. “They’re getting somebody that’s gonna turn that franchise around. They’re getting somebody that no matter what happens, no matter what anybody on the outside thinks of that franchise, I’m gonna put belief and I’m gonna put new life into that [team].
“I’ll do everything I can do to win. Everything for my team and the coaching staff. They’re going to get the biggest competitor they’ve ever seen.”
The Browns are coming off of an 0-16 season and the worst two- and three-year stretch in NFL history that has seen them win four games in three seasons combined but he explained why he’s confident he is the player that can change that.
“There’s one thing I know how to do and that’s win ballgames,” Mayfield said. “I came from a high school where state championships were the standard and then going to OU where winning’s the standard. I’ve always held myself to that so wherever I land, a chance to play football is a dream come true for me.
“You dream of playing in the NFL. I could care less where I end up but I just want a chance to win games for somebody.”
Mayfield knows the sordid history of the Browns – the quarterbacks, the losing, the constant change – through a former teammate who grew up in Cleveland.
“They’re loyal and true Browns fans, I respect that,” Mayfield said. “It doesn’t matter what happens, they’re always going to be there for them so when you think about it, you’d love to play for a franchise like that. You got people that are gonna have your back and especially if you’re winning ballgames and turning that around.”
Mayfield won the Heisman trophy as college football’s top player this past season but he comes with concerns on and off of the field drawing comparisons to Manziel.
“The football side of it, Johnny’s a special player, there’s no doubt that. People can say what they want about him as a person but football-wise, he’s a dang good football player,” Mayfield said. “Other than that, we’re nothing alike. I love the game of football. I would never let anything come in between that and I would do whatever it takes for my team to win.”
Mayfield reached a plea deal following an arrest for public intoxication prior to last season. During the season he drew criticism for planting a flag at midfield of Ohio Stadium following a resounding victory over Ohio State and grabbing himself in an obscene way during a blowout at Kansas.
“The biggest thing I learned from all of that is that I can never stop being who I am,” Mayfield said. “I’ve always been a fiery competitor, a leader, a guy that energizes my team and gets them going but at the same time there’s a line that needs to be drawn. If I’m going to be the spotlight on my team, the franchise QB, the face of whatever it is, you have to be the guy that everybody looks to and no matter what the situation is – good or bad – so I can’t let it get out of hand like that but at the same time I realized that there’s a line to be drawn but I was still a guy that was going to be energetic with a chip on my shoulder and be competitive no matter what.”
Mayfield explained that the offensive system at Oklahoma was a multiple-read system, even though it was no huddle and he also had the ability to audible at the line, which should’ve prepared him well for the NFL.
“That’s why we had a top-three, top-four offense in the country each year because we got progression reads,” Mayfield said. “We got some complex things that we do.”