The Cardinals hold the No. 1 overall pick for April’s NFL draft for the first time since 1958. As the day for the Cards to make their selection draws closer, azcardinals.com will take a look at the last 30 No. 1 overall selections and each player’s impact on the team and league.
NAME/YEAR: Baker Mayfield/2018
TEAM: Cleveland Browns
THE SITUATION: The Browns had just one win in the previous two years combined, and the glaring hole at quarterback never seemed bigger. Cleveland was in good shape heading into the draft because there were four quarterbacks rated highly. The Browns had to choose between Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen. While Mayfield’s height was a concern – he is only 6-foot-1 – it didn’t deter General Manager John Dorsey, who tabbed him with the top pick.
THE CAREER: Mayfield has only been in the NFL for one season, and there have been many players who looked good as rookies before seeing their careers get derailed. That being said, the Browns couldn’t have imagined a much better scenario than the one that developed in 2018. Mayfield took over the starting job after three games and found quick success. Cleveland’s trajectory has flipped after a long run of ineptitude, and Mayfield is helping to lead that charge.
THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: The Giants eschewed a quarterback at No. 2 and went with running back Saquon Barkley, who looked like a star as a rookie. The Jets grabbed Darnold at No. 3 and the jury is still out on that pick. The Browns surprised many with their second top-5 selection when they grabbed cornerback Denzel Ward at No. 4, but it also looked astute as he made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Outside linebacker Bradley Chubb went No. 5 to the Broncos and had 12 sacks last season.