I’m sitting here, in West L.A., after church on a beautiful Sunday, watching sports highlights at an open-air sports pub, with a peanut butter stout in hand, writing run-on sentences… It’s Mother’s Day, and I’ve reflected, and paid my respects to all of the mother figures in my life. I had a blast with some good friends last night. Life is good. And yet… here I am, about to disturb the peace and step into the fray to defend one Baker Mayfield!

Baker Mayfield was, most recently, an electric playmaker, and a supremely confident quarterback / leader of a major college program at Oklahoma. Yes, he has major swag (that video went viral before I even knew who Baker was), but also some major immaturity issues… he is the latest edition of a prayer for a football savior in Cleveland Ohio, and the most recently ordained first overall pick of the NFL Draft.
Mayfield is a lightning rod of public opinion. For this reason, (and a plethora of others) he has been compared incessantly to a quarterback before him (who was a major flop of a first-round draft pick): Johnny Manziel.
Look, I can see some of the similarities: he’s white, mobile, short, braggadocios and has a penchant for partying. He and Johnny also both won the Heisman Trophy in college and opinions were split on where they should be picked in the draft. They were both picked in the first round by the Cleveland Browns. These correlations have led EVERYONE to come to the same lazy conclusion, that Mayfield is Johnny Football 2.0 and will be a gargantuan bust.

I am here to call all of us to Chilllllll! We are in the age of the millennial sports reporters and social influencers, and I’ve seen a crap-ton of memes roasting this dude already; as well as ridiculing the Browns for his selection. Some of them really had me cracking up though, not going to lie. However, I am standing up and declaring that I will not follow the masses in declaring him a bust. In fact, I think ol’ boy has a shot to be a very effective quarterback!

BIG Yikes! Yet, do the Browns have… a new hope under center??

One very important thing to remember is that Johnny Manziel’s career was derailed before it ever got going, largely due to what he admits as an alcoholism problem, and also what he opened up about as being bi-polar disorder. Those are very serious hurdles to overcome in such a cerebral and mentally taxing game and position.

The most striking on-field difference between Mayfield and Manziel is that Baker is known for his accuracy. In fact, he led all of college football in total Quarterback Rating (QBR) for the last 2 years. Why would anyone be picked before the highest graded quarterback? People want to pick on him for his height, when he had the least amount of passes batted down at the line of scrimmage of any of the top 5 quarterbacks in the draft… take that one to the bank and invest it. Don’t let the institutionalized hot takes, sans statistics, drive you into mass opinion.

Finally, news broke that the New England Patriots were prepared to trade up to the second overall pick to scoop Baker Mayfield. These are the same Patriots that believe in drafting BPA (best player available) instead of need. These are the same Patriots who are coldly calculating in all of their moves. These are the Patriots who are on the brink of the end of Tom Brady’s reign. If the reports are true, they also concurred (or at least considered the possibility) that he was the best QB in the draft, and were willing to make a seismic move to secure him. The Patriots may have done a little deeper of a scouting job than the average fan, forming opinions based on ESPN highlights and mock drafts. Even if these reports aren’t true, there were additional reports that the Jets were set to take him #3 overall if the Browns chose Sam Darnold. It seems teams and their scouting departments were higher on Baker than the general public and most sports analysts.

Baker Mayfield is not a sequel to the Johnny Manziel show. Stop it with the shallow hot-takes, dictated from your major network sports analysts. Liste, I’m not putting a gold jacket on him at this point. Mark my words though: if Baker is able to learn from his immaturity mistakes and dedicate himself to his craft with the fire and passion that we saw when he planted the OU flag at midfield against Ohio State, I believe he will help make the Cleveland Browns a respectable, contending team. Yes, I said it: contending! He is an efficient and talented quarterback who has the ability to lift a team and elevate other playmakers.

While we’re at it, let’s put an end to another hotly contested debate… Click on this link and tell me what you hear. You’re welcome.