ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Baker Mayfield, until the past few days considered an outsider to be chosen at the top of the NFL draft, has been taken by the Cleveland Browns to begin Thursday night's selections.
The first Heisman Trophy winner taken No. 1 overall in the following draft since Cam Newton went to Carolina in 2010, Mayfield joins a team that went 0-16 in 2017.
The Browns were sold on his leadership skills and creativity inside the pocket and outside.
Most prognosticators pegged another quarterback, perhaps Josh Allen, Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen, for the Browns.
Instead, it's the Oklahoma star —the Sooners went 34-6 with him— who overwhelmingly won the Heisman Trophy last season. He is the eighth winner of the award selected first in the NFL draft following that season since 1970.
The Browns surprised the experts again, picking Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward No 4 overall.
After passing over more classic quarterbacks to take Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield with the top pick, Cleveland skipped over North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb, the top pass rusher in the draft, to grab the top cornerback.
The Cincinnati Bengals took Billy Price from Ohio State, another interior lineman who can also play guard at No. 21. The Bengals' offense struggled mightily last season because of a porous offensive line.