Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray have something in common other than both having been the first-overall pick in each of the past two drafts. They share something other than having both won the Heisman Trophy. The young quarterbacks have something in common other than the fact that they are the two quarterbacks to most recently lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well.
They were also teammates at Oklahoma, with Murray becoming the starter after Mayfield declared for the draft in 2018. He proceeded to have a fantastic season and was taken first-overall by the Arizona Cardinals, presumably one of the shortest players ever to be taken so early in the draft.
One thing they don’t have in common? Their leadership approach. As he prepares to face Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns this week, Murray told reporters, “I would never do some of the stuff he’s done”, via the Arizona Republic, though he did it with a laugh.
“But no, that’s my boy. He knows that. I just let him do his thing and you just laugh at him”, he added. “Everybody has their own way of doing things. He was a great teammate, a great leader. Everybody around the building felt that. When it was my opportunity, you know, I lead how I lead and he leads how he leads”.
Mayfield has certainly had a colorful history in terms of the manner in which he chooses to display his leadership. Most recently, he defended teammate Odell Beckham, Jr., who has been the subject of some controversy as to whether or not he intends to be one-and-done in Cleveland, by telling reporters that he is not healthy and should have had an injury taken care of in training camp.
That decision cost him some HR time, as he had to have a talking to, as well as a conversation about the team’s medical and training staff. His intention was to defend his teammate, who has frequent been subject to criticism, but in the end wound up throwing the team’s training staff under the bus.
On the field, however, Mayfield had an impressive rookie season, setting the NFL record for the most touchdown passes thrown by a rookie quarterback, even though he began the season as the backup and only took over during the Week Three game.
Murray had been having a solid season of his own up until he ran up against the Steelers defense, which intercepted the Arizona Cardinals quarterback three times. He had among the lowest interception rates in the NFL heading into the game, six picks on 426 pass attempts.
While the Cardinals have no chance of reaching the postseason this year, the Browns are still keeping their playoff hopes alive, even as they sit two games back for the second wildcard spot.