No less than “Roger the Dodger” likes Baker Mayfield. Roger Staubach was in the house Thurday night at AT&T stadium, and the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback touted his fellow Heisman Trophy winner, whom Cleveland chose No. 1 in the NFL draft.
“There’s something about Mayfield that’s interesting,” said the 1963 Heisman winner from Navy. “He does some funky things, seems to be a leader, and they like him. He can move around and find people who come open. In the NFL, you have to do that.”
Mayfield trivia: The ex-Lake Travis star is the first Heisman winner selected No. 1 overall since Cam Newton by Carolina in 2010. Overall, Mayfield is the eighth Heisman winner taken first since 1970.
He is one of seven QBs who are 6-1 or shorter taken in the first round since 1970. Only Vick and Jim McMahon (No. 5, 1982) made a significant impact.
The last QB under 6 feet 1 inch to be selected No. 1 overall in the draft?
Michael Vick in 2001. The Virginia Tech alum did pretty well for himself on the field.
Wizard of Oz: Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome, one of the best in the game, had an active first night and ended it with a bang.
The Ravens traded down twice in the first round, collecting extra picks and going from 16 to 22 to 25 and later trading again for the final pick in the round. Newsome, a Hall of Fame tight end, went for the only tight end of the night, South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst.
But he really created excitement by dealing for Super Bowl champion Philadelphia’s No. 32 choice and choosing quarterback Lamar Jackson. The 2016 Heisman winner signals a complete change of direction for Baltimore, a dual-threat QB who is likely to end the Joe Flacco era in 2019.
Newsome brandished his image as one of the draft’s great movers and shakers: He’s made a trade in all but 2 of his 22 drafts (2001 and 2017).
Big 12 blues: It was another bad draft night for the Big 12. Mayfield was the only player from the league to go in the first round. Even the Mountain West had three players taken. Last year the Big 12 had a Power Five conference-low 14 players taken in the entire draft.
Texas offensive lineman Connor Williams and the Oklahoma State pass-catch duo of Mason Rudolph and James Washington were among the Big 12 talents still on the board.
SEC, SEC: The Southeastern Conference, as usual, had the most first-round draft choices with 10, including four from Alabama and three from Georgia. Those teams played in the national championship game. The ACC was next best with seven players, followed by the Pac-12 with four.
By position: Six offensive linemen and defensive backs were tabbed; five quarterbacks and defensive linemen; four linebackers; three running backs; two wide receivers and one tight end.
Best available: Any list of the top players still out there for rounds two and three Friday night should include Boston College edge rusher Harold Landry; Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson; UTEP offensive guard Will Hernandez and Texas o-lineman Connor Williams.
Vander Who? The Cowboys killed a lot of the buzz in AT&T Stadium with their choice. They could have taken any wide receiver on the board but instead went for Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. The former walk-on did not play 11-man football in high school and was an unknown to the crowd. Most Dallas fans wanted Alabama wideout Calvin Ridley, SMU’s Courtland Sutton or Maryland’s D.J. Moore.
Bronco busting: Bradley Chubb and Von Miller are about to become fast friends. Not to mention quite a one-two pass-rushing punch. Denver, at No. 5, was surprised Cleveland passed on the North Carolina State defensive end at No. 4. Miller, the former Texas A&M star, was the No. 2 overall choice in 2011.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the Broncos, where I can learn from a guy like that. He’s one of the best,” Chubb said. “Hopefully we can get this defense back to the level it was at a few years ago.”
Steal of a deal: Arizona fans are thrilled with Josh Rosen, who could turn out to be the best QB in the draft. The Cardinals traded up from 15th to 10th to snatch the UCLA ex, who declared: “There were nine mistakes ahead of me.” Sam Bradford will temporarily hold the Arizona job until his next injury.
Reaching: Buffalo went far, far out on a limb. The Bills traded up to No. 7 for Wyoming QB Josh Allen, who had no major scholarship offers out of college before spending two seasons in Laramie. He has the strongest arm in the draft but has never completed more than 56 percent of his passes.
DBU: Other schools, including Texas, have claimed the moniker, but Ohio State owns it. The Buckeyes became the first program since the common draft era began in 1967 to have five defensive backs selected in the opening round during a three-year span.
Catch this: No wide receivers went until Carolina grabbed D.J. Moore at 24. The last time a WR wasn’t taken inside the top 20 was 2010 when Demaryius Thomas went 20th to Denver and, yes, Dez Bryant 22nd to Dallas. Those two turned out quite all right.
- Five quarterbacks went in round one for first time since 1999. The record is six in 1983. The last time a QB wasn’t selected in the first round was 1996.
- Alabama had a first-round pick for the 10th consecutive season. Only Miami at 14 from 1994-2008 had a longer streak.
- Tampa Bay NT Vita Vea is the biggest man drafted at 6-4 and 345 pounds. The Bucs ranked last in overall defense last year.
- Notre Dame put two o-linemen in the top 10: guard Quenton Nelson (No. 6 to the Colts) and tackle Mike McGlinchey (No. 9 to the 49ers).