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Commentary: Browns in no position to take huge gamble on undersized Baker Mayfield

The Browns have been there, dreaded that.

That didn’t stop Baker from cooking at the combine Friday, when the serial crotch grabber, flag planter, f-bomber brashly hit the bombast button when asked about potentially being drafted by the worst team in professional sports.

“I think if anybody’s going to turn that franchise around it would be me,” said Mayfield, about a franchise that NOBODY has turned around for 19 years.

Pardon the yawn, but we’ve seen this movie before — starring Johnny Faux Pas — and it’s a bad one.


But even if Baker Mayfield isn’t Johnny Manziel 2.0, the Browns have no business giving him the chance to prove it in Cleveland. The Browns forfeited that right by mindlessly — scoutlessly? — drafting Manziel in the first place.

To be fair, that decision wasn’t made by the current Browns regime. But that regime is standing on the shoulders of midgets, so too bad for John Dorsey and the Dorsetts. When you sign on with the Browns, you inherit the legacy.

Godspeed, gentlemen.

Mayfield WOULD show up now, wouldn’t he? A mere four years after the Browns disgraced themselves by drafting Manziel and allowing him to disgrace himself and his team while wearing one of the Browns’ nine uniform combinations, here comes Baker Mayfield, gun-slinging his way out of the badlands.

A not-so Okie Dokie.

Not for the Browns, anyway. For the Browns, Mayfield has everything you want in a quarterback — except for size, maturity, a clean rap sheet, size, self-control, no painful Manziel comps and size.

In other words, if anyone is going to turn this franchise around, it isn’t Mayfield.

With the No. 1, or even the No. 4 pick in the draft, the Browns cannot afford to pass on at least three other legitimate quarterback options in order to select one with more franchise-specific red flags than you can shake a red flag at.

Drafting Manziel at No. 22 was bad enough.

Drafting Mayfield at No. 1 could be calamitous.

Fool the Browns once, shame on them.

Fool the Browns twice, shame on them, again.

Which is not to say that Mayfield can’t play. Maybe he can. Maybe he’ll even become a star. But the Browns can’t afford to find out. The Manziel wounds are still too fresh to risk potential exposure to the same virus. Let some other team run that flag up their flagpole.

Ominously, or perhaps just gamesmanshiply, Dorsey has let it be known that he’s a Mayfield aficionado. That could be true, or that could just be him spinning that voodoo that GMs do so well during the draft season.

Dorsey also said — egads! — that he’s wide open to potentially trading the No.1 pick in the draft, which to Dawg Pound Nation is the equivalent of yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater.

Since 1999, no NFL team has done a better job than the Browns of proving unequivocally that they are not the smartest team in the room. In reality, the Browns are just barely a team in the room.

Now is not the time for Dorsey to push the Browns’ non-existent luck.

The Browns are quite clearly not the smartest team in the room, so play dumb.

Keep the No. 1 pick.

Use it to pick a quarterback not named Mayfield.

If the Browns do that, and if Mayfield becomes a star with another team, no Browns fan or media member could fairly criticize Dorsey for not drafting a quarterback who is roughly the same size, flashed the same playing style, cockiness and contentious behavior as the worst draft pick in Browns history, selected four years earlier.

Certainly, the risk of passing on Mayfield and having him become, for another team, the franchise quarterback the Browns so desperately need, is far exceeded by the risk of the Browns drafting Mayfield and eventually having team officials forced to answer the question: “Didn’t you guys learn anything from the Manziel disaster?”

Admittedly, it can sometimes be hard to pass on passers like these. They are young, exciting and unpredictable. They sell tickets and spark conversation.

But so do the Kardashians.

Does Mayfield want to be a football player or a celebrity? All-Pro or All-TMZ?

We know what Manziel’s preference was.

The player who turns around the Browns will be a quarterback AND a celebrity. Because the Browns are, well, the Browns.

“They’re close. They’re very close,” said Mayfield, apparently unaware that the Browns were 0-16 last year.

“They have the right pieces,” he said of the 1-31 team. “I think they just need one guy, a quarterback to make that difference.”

Actually, the Browns have mostly wrong pieces, and they need more than one guy.

But one guy who shouldn’t be their guy is this guy.

Jim Ingraham is a sports columnist for the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and the Medina Gazette. Contact him at 329-7135 or [email protected] and follow him @Jim_Ingraham on Twitter


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