If the Browns had passed on Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 pick, the draft — and the league — could’ve taken an interesting twist.
Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots were considering trading up to No. 2 to take Mayfield, according to his agent, Jack Mills.
“Another team had said you may get a big surprise on draft day at No. 2 if he’s available. And it was the Patriots,” Mills said on “The Business of Sports with Andrew Brandt” podcast.
Belichick’s interest could make Browns fans anxious about the selection of Mayfield sleep easier.
The Browns didn’t give the Patriots the chance at Mayfield, taking the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma with the first pick.
The speculation about the Patriots is interesting for a couple of reasons.
First, they have Tom Brady. So drafting Mayfield would’ve signaled the beginning of the end for the five-time Super Bowl champ and one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Second, the Patriots would’ve had to give up a ton to make the jump up to No. 2, where the New York Giants wound up staying put and selecting Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
“They had (No.) 23 and they had 31 and they had two second(-round picks),” Mills said of the Patriots’ draft assets. “We thought, boy, that’s going to be a heckuva move to get up that high from where they are. And, of course, he wasn’t available, so we never knew if that was a reality or not.”
Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reported Mayfield’s camp initially declined a predraft visit to New England. When the Patriots acquired pick No. 23, Mayfield accepted.
Mills’ interview with Brandt also reinforced what was shown on the last episode of Mayfield’s draft journey on BehindBaker.com. Browns general manager John Dorsey kept Mayfield and his representation in the dark until the very end, which is highly unusual for the No. 1 pick.
“The Browns never tipped their hand. Ever,” Mills said. “Dorsey never contacted us, and we’ve known John for a long time.
“We didn’t know until John called during their time on the clock in the first round that he was actually the guy.”
Dorsey has already made several additions to the personnel staff. Some subtractions are expected shortly, which is normal for right after the draft under a new GM.
“I’ve had a chance to sit and assess everything here since I’ve gotten here back in December,” Dorsey said, “and then you know that thing will take care of itself here in the next week or so.”