ARLINGTON, Texas — Welcome to AT&T Stadium, aka Jerry World, where the playing surface has been converted to a theater, a stage on which college football’s biggest stars will become the NFL’s newest stars.
It’s the 2018 NFL Draft, and if Baker Mayfield gets his way, he’ll keep alive the Sooner tradition of high times in the world’s greatest sports stadium.
Less than five months ago, on this very field, Mayfield led Oklahoma to a third consecutive Big 12 Conference championship. It was OU’s second conference title won in this building (remember the last Big 12 title game, won by the Sooners over Nebraska in 2010). And let’s not forget which college teams christened the facility: OU opened Jerry World when it opened the 2009 season against BYU.
OK, Sooner fans and Sam Bradford might actually want to forget that one.
Speaking of Bradford, Mayfield hopes to make even more Sooner history on the Dallas Cowboys’ field tonight. Now seven hours from curtain, it’s being widely reported that he will be selected No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Browns.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter cited on Twitter “a mounting belief from (head coaches) and GMs around the league that Cleveland will take Baker Mayfield. Yahoo Sports’ Jordan Schultz tweeted “one veteran NFL executive” believes the Browns will grab Mayfield at No. 1.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein tweeted “Baker is going #1. That’s happening…” Among others, ESPN’s Josina Anderson cited “multiple conversations I’ve had on & off the record” that the “Browns have settled on” Mayfield for the #1 pick.”
And Las Vegas oddsmaker R.J. Bell updated his odds for the No. 1 overall pick with Mayfield (-150) topping USC quarterback Sam Darnold (+100) and Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen (+800).
Whether he’s taken No. 1 or not, Mayfield, won’t walk onto the stage to bear-hug NFL commissioner Roger Goodell because he has chosen to remain at his Austin home with family.
Bradford — currently with the Arizona Cardinals after short stops with Minnesota and Philadelphia — was Oklahoma’s last No. 1 overall pick when the St. Louis Rams chose him in 2010. OU’s other No. 1 overall draft picks were running back Billy Sims in 1980 and defensive end Lee Roy Selmon in 1976.
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.