The Browns seemingly shocked the world taking the highly controversial Baker Mayfield number one overall in the 2018 draft. The New York Giants then made the pick that many believed the Browns should have made, drafting combine freak Saquon Barkley. Widely considered the best player in this draft and the best running back prospect in recent memory.
However, looking down the road Baker Mayfield may have actually been a better pick than Saquon Barkley at number two. Maybe the Browns finally got it right.
Barkley will have a great rookie season, and probably a great first four years with the Giants. But with a variety of high profile players, the Giants may very well not be able to afford Barkley’s inevitable heavy cap hit. Teams do not like to pay running backs for good reason.
The very problem is his position. Running backs have short careers and good ones are not exactly too hard to find. Especially in this year’s draft. Which was littered with good running backs that could have been picked in the second or third round.
Saquon could be great not just good, but the Giants gave up too much, that second overall pick could have gone towards a franchise quarterback to learn from Eli Manning, and set up the Giants for the next twenty years, instead of the next four to seven.
A running back will never be worth that pick, because great running backs can make the playoffs, but never lead teams to Super Bowls. Quarterbacks have more control and longevity than any other position.
Even the two teams in last year’s Super Bowl both ran running back committees, meaning they had multiple backs split snaps evenly. A workhorse back, even a great one, is just enough. They can’t do enough.
A good running back can be a great and even vital complementary piece, but great is just not worth what teams would have to give up.
Now the Browns would not have picked Baker number one overall, if they were not sure he was their guy. The man who drafted Aaron Rodgers, GM John Dorsey, believes this is what the Browns need.
In my previous blog about Baker Mayfield, Buyers Beware: Baker’s a Bust, I do call him a bust and I believe it is more than likely he will become that. But the Browns did their homework and believe he is their guy or else he would not have gone number one overall. That makes him a good pick for them, until he proves them wrong.
With a chance to sit and learn behind a veteran player like Tyrod Taylor, a promising second round running back, and the newly added receiving threat in Jarvis Landry the Brown’s long term future looks bright. This is all if Baker is who the Browns believe he is.
Barkley will be great, but he was a bad pick. The Browns think they finally got it right and got the guy that will turn their franchise around. Something a great quarterback, with good complementary players can do. Something the Browns have.
The Browns believe Baker is their guy. And that makes him worth much more than even the number one overall draft pick.
Don’t let the draft hype or their first seasons fool you. Baker Mayfield was a better pick than Saquon Barkley.