Which 5 Cleveland Browns would be protected in an expansion draft
1. Baker Mayfield
There’s never been a team that struggled to find a quarterback the way the Browns did from 1999 through 2018. Year after year, they were looking for their new face of the franchise but they finally ended their search in 2018.
That was when they selected Baker Mayfield first overall out of Oklahoma and the young signal-caller came in full of confidence. Even before he was the choice, he boldly claimed that he was the one who could turn this team around.
"“I think if anybody’s going to turn that franchise around it would be me,” Mayfield said Friday during his podium interview at the NFL Scouting Combine. “They’re close. They’re very close. They have the right pieces. I think they just need one guy, a quarterback to make that difference.” — Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland.com"
Once he was chosen, he quickly got to work making good on his promise. He delivered the franchise their first win in 635 days when he came off the bench in Week 3 as a rookie and beat the New York Jets. He also set the record for touchdown passes by a rookie — although that was topped by Justin Herbert in 2020.
Last year, Mayfield led them to their first winning season since 2007 as well as their first playoff win since the days of Bill Belichick.
Simply put, he’s become the face of the franchise and is easily one of the five players to be protected in our hypothetical draft.