Despite falling to seventh overall, Josh Allen was all smiles after being drafted by Buffalo
The Cleveland Browns took Heisman Trophy winner and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first pick of the NFL Draft on Thursday night as controversy swelled around Josh Allen, the Wyoming quarterback who admitted to writing tweets with racial epithets as a high schooler in 2013.
The New York Giants took Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second pick, while USC quarterback Sam Darnold went third to the New York Jets, the Browns took Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward with the fourth pick, and North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb went fifth overall to the Denver Broncos.
According to Yahoo Sports, Allen repeatedly used the n-word in the tweets, and in one response to the question ‘Why are you so white?’, he replied: ‘If it ain’t white, it ain’t right!’
Allen’s response in this case seems to be a reference to the sit-com ‘Modern Family.’ Some of the other tweets, he explained to ESPN, either came from rap lyrics and there is a possibility that other tweets were actually written by his friends.
Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at the podium after the Cleveland Browns selected Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield as their pick during the first round of the NFL football draft
Just hours before NFL teams made their selections for the 2018 draft in Dallas, Allen scrambled to apologize for the posts, saying he was ‘young and dumb’ when he wrote them in 2012-2013.
The 21-year-old quarterback was regarded as a potential top-five pick in this year’s draft.
However, the emergence of his social media posts made in high school may have affected the perception of him among NFL teams.
Falling in the NFL Draft will certainly cost Allen.
The top pick, Mayfield, will have a cap figure in 2018 of $5.9 million, whereas the second-overall pick, Barkley, will earn $5.6 million in as a rookie. The 32nd and final pick in the first round will have a 2018 base salary of $1.7 million.
In an interview with ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on Thursday, Allen said the revelation has put him ‘in a panic,’ but explained that the tweets did not reflect his character.
Not unlike a political campaign, negative stories about NFL Draft hopefuls are regarded suspiciously, even when the parties involved admit wrongdoing. Allen's case echoes the social media controversy surrounding Laremy Tunsil in 2016. Video of Tunsil appearing to smoke marijuana through a gas mask emerged on draft day two years ago, bumping him down the order. He was later selected by the Miami Dolphins and now starts at left tackle
‘If I could go back in time, I would never have done this in a heartbeat,’ Allen said. ‘At the time, I obviously didn’t know how harmful it was and now has become.
‘I hope you know and others know I’m not the type of person I was at 14 and 15 that I tweeted so recklessly. … I don’t want that to be the impression of who I am, because that is not me. I apologize for what I did.
‘It sucks. My family is hurting. We never envisioned a day or night like this.’
Allen’s case echoes the social media controversy surrounding Laremy Tunsil in 2016. Video of Tunsil appearing to smoke marijuana through a gas mask emerged on draft day two years ago, bumping him down the order. He was later selected by the Miami Dolphins.
Mayfield eventually should become the 30th quarterback to start a game for the Cleveland Browns since the franchise returned as an expansion team in 1999, presumably after Tyrod Taylor — acquired from the Buffalo Bills via trade this offseason — becomes the 29th to do so. The team has been resolute that Taylor will be the starter in Week 1 of 2018, but considering no Browns QB has started all 16 games since 2001, it’s fair to say the clock is already ticking on Mayfield’s debut.
Only two of the previous 28 have made it past 25 starts (Tim Couch 59, Derek Anderson 34) with the Browns. Last year’s second-round pick, DeShone Kizer, made more starts as a rookie (15) than all but six of the other 27 on the infamous list made in their career for Cleveland, but he was summarily shipped away via trade this offseason to the Green Bay Packers.
No current quarterback on the Cleveland roster has started a game for the Browns, as Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan were each traded away. In addition to Taylor, the team brought in veteran Drew Stanton from the Arizona Cardinals via free agency.
Mayfield started 47 games during his college career, finishing his time at Oklahoma with the two highest single-season marks in passing efficiency in FBS history (196.4 in 2016, 198.9 in 2017), breaking Russell Wilson’s record.
The Giants’ Barkley is an All-American with speed, power, shiftiness and excellent hands is considered this year’s best player. New York has had one of the NFL’s worst running games in recent years, and Barkley is expected to boost an offense that has a veteran quarterback in Eli Manning and star receiver in Odell Beckham Jr.
Barkley also is a sensational kick returner.
‘It’s unreal, two of the biggest moments in my life in the same week,’ said Barkley, whose girlfriend gave birth to a girl earlier in the week.
Not surprisingly in the Cowboys’ home, the pick generally was booed.
The Jets, another of the NFL teams desperate for a franchise quarterback, chose Darnold with the third pick Thursday night.
The Jets had traded up from sixth overall with Indianapolis with the expressed mission of finding that quarterback. Southern California’s Darnold, who had a superb 2016 season and was not quite so productive last year, was the choice.
Darnold might sit a while and learn behind veteran Josh McCown.
‘There’s nothing better than being on this state,’ Darnold said. ‘I think whatever the coaches want me to do if they want me to sit, want me to play, I’ll do my role. That’s what I’ve done my whole life, not going to do any different.’
SOURCE: Reuters / AP / Daily Mail – Alex Raskin
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