Baker Mayfield: Transition to NFL offense 'a matter of terminology'

BEREA, Ohio -- Baker Mayfield vows it won't be difficult to leave the silliness in the past.

"It's an easy decision to make," Mayfield said Friday, one day after the Cleveland Browns made him the first pick in the NFL draft. "It's a blessing to have the responsibility and be in this position. So for me, it's a simple choice to make the right decisions."

In Mayfield's first appearance with his new team, the former Oklahoma quarterback discussed his leadership and said the transition from the Sooners' Air Raid offense to the NFL won't be too difficult.

"The game of football is the same," Mayfield said. "It's just a matter of terminology, language and how they teach it, so you're not going to find one guy who is reinventing the wheel."

The Browns' selection of Mayfield was a surprise in a draft in which three taller quarterbacks were available, but the Browns touted his competitiveness, accuracy, skills as a leader and the fact he had worked for everything he had earned. Mayfield is the first walk-on to win the Heisman Trophy and be the first overall pick in the draft.

"It's a surreal feeling, thinking about the ... how long it's been and exactly where I came from, so a very surreal feeling," the 6-foot-⅝ Mayfield said. "It's not one that I would have imagined back then, but I'm happy about it now."

Mayfield did say his crotch-grabbing antics and cursing of Kansas players during Oklahoma's blowout road win in November were inappropriate, and he said in the future he would try to better manage his competitive nature.

"That was absolutely over the top," he said. "But there's a fine line. You need to be competitive, but a lot of that you can internalize and use that as motivation to drive you. You don't have to show it all the time.

"As competitive as I am, I don't have to show it all the time. I can use that for behind the scenes when nobody's around, the film, the hours you put in."

Mayfield chose his Browns jersey number on Friday. The team released video of the quick affair.

Amid his success at Oklahoma, which included having the second-best passing efficiency mark (175.4) in FBS history, Mayfield also created obstacles for himself -- an arrest for public intoxication in Arkansas; the situation against Kansas, which led to him being stripped of his captaincy the following game; plus other instances of taunting opponents before and after games, including a road win at Ohio State.

"Stuff like that, in between the lines, I'll be very competitive," he said, "but the other stuff, obviously, it can't happen. I know that."

Mayfield and his new teammate Denzel Ward both chuckled over one of Mayfield's well-known actions. That happened in Columbus when Mayfield planted an Oklahoma flag on the Buckeyes logo after beating Ohio State last season. The action brought attention because the logo is considered untouchable ground.

Ward, the fourth overall pick in the draft, started at cornerback for Ohio State.

"You guys forget that they came to Norman and whooped up on us [in 2016]," Mayfield said. "It's one-and-one, so I'm going to have to get him [Ward] in practice."

"Like he said, we got him the year before, so he got us back though with the flag," Ward said.

Both players chuckled as they looked back, but Mayfield conceded that some of his actions contradict the "humble" tag that Browns general manager John Dorsey gave him after drafting him.

"I'm not blind to that," he said.

Ward, who grew up in the Cleveland area, wore a purple suit to the draft to honor his father, who died in May 2016 of a heart attack. Purple was his father's favorite color.

"It was definitely an emotional night," Ward said. "I obviously wish my dad was still alive and could have been there and experienced that with my family and I. But I know that he's proud of me.

"He watched last night in heaven."