Johnny Manziel 2.0

The NFL draft is this weekend, and I’m not going to lie, I only watched the first five picks. Everyone was wondering who would go number one overall to the Cleveland Browns.

And the pour soul lucky winner is Baker Mayfield.

On ESPN’s draft coverage Thursday night, the analysts—the only time Mel Kiper comes out of hiding—talked about Mayfield and his off the field issues he’s had at Oklahoma. Mayfield has been compared to Johnny Manziel, and one of the analysts said that Mayfield’s troublemaking is over and he won’t become Manziel.

Um, everyone also thought Johnny Football was going to clean up his act once he got drafted but…

He was arrested before his first college game and charged with three misdemeanors; got kicked out of a University of Texas frat party; was investigated by the NCAA for signing autographs and ultimately got suspended for the first half of that upcoming season’s opener; partied in Las Vegas the night before the Browns played their final game of the season, and in an attempt to cover himself, posted a picture of him and his dog “at home”; and the kicker: he was investigated for domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend after she alleged he forced her into a car, pulled her by the hair, and threatened to kill her and himself. Throw in a short stint in rehab, being dropped by his agent, marketing company, and Nike, and agreeing to a plea agreement, and Manziel is certainly someone you’d want to bring home to mom and dad.

Yeah. So.

Manziel’s now on a #ComebackSZN kick and I highly doubt he’ll ever play professional football again.

Analysts have been painting Mayfield as the underdog who walked on at Texas Tech, transferred to Oklahoma, walked on there after sitting for a season due to Big 12 transfer rules—thus creating the “Baker Mayfield Rule”—and yeah, yeah, put up good numbers at Oklahoma.

In his final season at Oklahoma, he had a 70.5% passing perctange, 4,340 yards, only 5 interceptions, and 41 touchdowns. Oh, and he won the Heisman, receiving 732 first place votes.

You know who else won the Heisman?

Johnny Football.

The first issue we seem to encounter with Mayfield is in February 2017, he was arrested in Arkansas on public intoxication and fleeing charges. When he was asked to stay so the police could get a statement, he began shouting and causing a scene. He plead guilty to all charges, and the University of Oklahoma ordered Mayfield to undergo 35 hours of community service along with completing an alcohol education program.

In September 2017 when he planted the Oklahoma University flag in the middle of the painted “O” at Ohio State’s stadium after a win. Then just a few months later at a University of Kansas game, he grabbed his crotch and mouthed “F— you!” at the Jayhawks coach. Both incidents warranted public apologies from Mayfield.

So if you’re keeping track at home, Manziel and Mayfield are almost at a tie for doing the stupidest things while in college.

I get that Mayfield has good numbers—I’m not good at math, but I understand football numbers. But at least for me, it’s the off the field or rather actually on the field misconduct that Mayfield has that bothers me and thinks he could still get himself in trouble.

He stands up for himself against what I’m sure he calls his “haters” and has proven them wrong with his numbers, awards, and draft selection. He went higher than Manziel did, but both ended up on the same team.

The Browns are an absolute disaster and aren’t necessarily equipped to handle young talent. The team is desperate for even one win and not to be the laughing stock of the NFL.

Both Manziel and Mayfield are problematic college football players headed to play for the Browns—who have had 28 QBs since 1999—and it’s hard not to compare the two.

Mayfield could completely surprise all of us and clean up his act and lead the Browns to one win this upcoming season. That’s the optimistic view.

But I think the more realistic and pragmatic view is that he might continue his troublemaking. I don’t know his family situation, and I’m hoping his family and close friends can support him. Sure the college football stage is growing each year, but I feel like there’s some glitz and glamour of the NFL that gets to some players. They have all of this new money and new connections, and sometimes they end up in over their heads.

There are only so many bandaids you can put on a bad NFL team.

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