BEREA, OHIO -- It was relatively quiet early at the Browns' facility Thursday morning -- the calm before the storm that will crest in the evening when the team leads off the 2018 NFL Draft with the first overall pick. The rolling momentum parallels that of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who just weeks ago was nowhere on the radar to be the No. 1 overall pick but could very well end up being so just after 8 p.m. ET.
Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner, has gained significant steam the past few days -- at least outside of the Browns' facility -- and, according to multiple league sources, should not be ruled out as being Cleveland's pick in its latest attempt to land a franchise quarterback. General manager John Dorsey has not disclosed who he plans to pick, telling me Wednesday that he hasn't "even told my wife." So, quarterbacks Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen also are under consideration.
Nothing I have learned from inside and outside of the building indicates they will be drafting any other position but quarterback with the No. 1 pick. Dorsey also told me that there has been no potential trade option for the top draft selection.
The selection of Mayfield would be surprising to some, especially to a fan base that has seen the Browns falter over and over in acquiring quarterbacks. At 6-foot-1, Mayfield is the shortest of the top quarterback prospects and his fiery persona hasn't always sat well with some observers.
However, in speaking to several NFL coaches and personnel officials, Mayfield has been universally spoken well of for his "It" factor and ability to fit into an established NFL locker room.
As for Mayfield, Scot McCloughan, the former 49ers and Washington general manager who worked for years with Dorsey in the Packers' personnel department and is a consultant for the Browns, has been a supporter of Mayfield since the fall. McCloughan's voice is hardly the only one in making such an important decision -- several other personnel staffers and coaches had say -- but he is a trusted colleague of Dorsey's.
Dorsey said that the entire coaching staff and ownership have signed off on the final board, so there is consensus on the team's draft plans.
Cleveland also holds the No. 4 overall pick and a source with knowledge of discussion told me that the Browns have received calls about a potential trade, but those talks were preliminary and likely wouldn't take place -- if at all -- until the draft started.