Leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft, there were thousands of opinions on what the Cleveland Browns should do holding onto the first and fourth overall picks. With a potential All-Pro talent at running back, a multitude of quarterbacks and plenty of firepower to trade around and gather more draft picks, the Browns had their hands full making a franchise-shifting decision.
Ultimately, they landed on Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield first overall and consensus All-American cornerback Denzel Ward at No. 4. Many people close to the organization believed they flopped taking Mayfield, and at least one NFL legend has been swayed after watching the rookie lead the team to its first win in 635 days.
Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown was a three-time NFL MVP who still holds the NFL record averaging 104.3 rushing yards per game over his career.
One of the biggest supporters of the Browns selecting Penn State running back Saquon Barkley first overall, Brown didn’t support the choice to take an undersized, developmental player like Baker Mayfield after the draft.
But after watching the former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback enter the game against third-overall pick Sam Darnold and the New York Jets last Thursday night, when Mayfield threw for 203 yards in a come-from-behind win, the Browns legend’s tone has suddenly changed during an interview with TMZ Sports.
“Let me just give credit where credit is due. When you deal with the administration… and they went against the grain, they picked him because they had confidence in their ability to judge character and the talent, and they didn’t go with what everybody said, including myself.”
“I really appreciate being able to say to them ‘I guess you were right.’ It’s only been a couple of games, but I know you were right. So, I give them my apology for not understanding how brilliant they were to pick a guy number one and have it come out this way.” — Jim Brown
The former sixth-overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft rushed for 12,312 yards during his nine-year NFL career, all of which he was selected to the Pro Bowl team. Jim Brown is arguably the greatest NFL player to have ever lived, so I’m sure hearing this from him means a lot the Cleveland organization.
Brown added, “He’s a gunslinger. He can throw the ball. He’s got a great attitude. He’s young. I like everything about him.”
Still, one half of football does not make a Hall of Fame talent. There is still a lot to prove for Mayfield replacing Tyrod Taylor in coach Hue Jackson’s offense, but his Cleveland Browns (1-1-1) have suddenly become one of the NFL’s hottest tickets.
The new starting quarterback in Northeast Ohio is getting the chance to prove himself, and it looks like he’s another believer in Hall of Famer Jim Brown.