NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Select Heisman Winner Baker Mayfield; USC’s Sam Darnold Goes Third

The Cleveland Browns selected quarterback Baker Mayfield of the University of Oklahoma as the No.1 choice in the 2018 NFL draft, ending the mystery on who might be the top choice in a field rich with quarterbacks.

Mayfield, who walked on twice in college, first for Texas Tech and then after transferring to Oklahoma, became the Heisman Trophy winner last year as the top player in college. But many in the NFL questioned his size (slightly under 6-foot, 1-inch) and temperment (Mayfield is either extremely confident or cocky, depending on your outlook).

Mayfield also had a DWI on his resume, always a red flag among the image conscious league, and was briefly suspended from his college team for grabbing his crotch on the sidelines to mock another team.

The Browns had been mum about who they might select, and with at least five quarterbacks in this draft worthy of a first-round selection, there was a great deal of debate on who among them would go at No. 1

The New York Giants, selecting second, took Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, the do-everything running back who wow’d the coaches at the NFL combine with his athleticism. Many questioned whether a running back should be selected that high, but Barkley was considered the best player in the draft by many.

Picking third, the New York Jets selected quarterback Sam Darnold of the University of Southern California. Many speculated that Darnold could be the No. 1 quarterback taken in the draft at one time, but a so-so year this season and some concerns over his propensity for turnovers led to his slippage. The Jets have been searching for a franchise quarterback since the heyday of Joe Namath in the 1960s and have not been to the Super Bowl since 1969.

The live draft, eagerly anticipated by fans since the end of the Super Bowl in early February, is being held this year for the first time at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Previously, the draft had stops in Chicago and Philadelphia after leaving its long-time home at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

More than 100,000 fans were attending inside and outside the stadium, according to Commissioner Roger Goodell, reflecting the passion and hopes that are carried forward on draft day. Sections for each team’s fan base was set up, increasing the frenzy as the picks were announced.

This year, for the first time, the NFL draft was available on multiple networks. Tonight’s first round was televised by the NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes. Friday starts at 7 PM ET, with the second and third rounds will be available on the NFL Network, FOX Sports, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes. The final rounds (4-7) will be covered on Saturday starting at noon ET by NFL Network, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes.

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