ARLINGTON, Texas — The Amazing Life of Baker Mayfield got a lot more amazing on Thursday night.
The unlikeliest success story in the history of college football — the two-time walk-on who won the Heisman Trophy — moved to the next level when Mayfield was selected No. 1 overall in the National Football League Draft.
With a packed house and the lights flashing and Mayfield some 200 miles south of the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Mayfield as the top choice of the woeful Cleveland Browns.
On the very same field that Mayfield won a high school state championship for Lake Travis High School in 2011, and on the same field Mayfield led the Oklahoma Sooners to their 10th Big 12 Conference championship last December, Mayfield’s name was introduced to rousing cheers and a few boos.
Mayfield, however, was absent from the festivities, back home in Austin with family and friends watching his future unfold on television.
Mayfield is Oklahoma’s fourth No. 1 overall pick, joining Sam Bradford (2010), Billy Sims (1980) and Lee Roy Selmon (1976). Brian Bosworth was the No. 1 pick in the 1987 supplemental draft.
Mayfield became the Sooners’ 45th first-round draft pick, and the 16th OU player taken in the top six. He’s also the 14th Sooner to go in the opening round since 2000.
But Mayfield is also OU’s first first-round pick since offensive tackle Lane Johnson went fourth overall to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013.
Thursday evolved quickly for Mayfield, with multiple morning reports citing unnamed sources identifying him as the Browns’ top pick choice and even Las Vegas oddsmakers moving him to the top of their list.
The Browns have had a pitiful recent history with their quarterbacks, which include four former first-rounders since 1999: Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel. Cleveland’s QB list during that time also include such luminaries as Spurgeon Wynn, Trent Dilfer, Kelly Holcomb, Charlie Frye, Bruce Gradkowski and Colt McCoy.
In the 19 seasons since the Browns rebooted the franchise in 1999, they have a win-loss record of 88-216, a winning percentage of .289, and just two winning seasons. That includes 1-31 over the last two years.
Two years ago, the NFL Draft was moved out of its traditional home in New York City and was staged in Chicago. Last year’s draft happened in Philadelphia. It didn’t take Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones long to throw his hat in the ring, and America’s Team put on quite the show.
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard every weekday on The Franchise in Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. with co-host Lauren Rew. In Oklahoma City, catch him Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10:25 and every Friday afternoon at 4:05. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Visit his personal page at johnehoover.com.