“Efficacy” swayed Alonzo Highsmith on Baker Mayfield over Sam Darnold

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Before the draft, the Browns weren’t saying anything about their plans for the first overall pick. They’re talking a blue streak now, Jack. (I know I’ve said that before. More than once)

On Monday, Browns V.P. of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith spoke at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club on Monday, offering a candid assessment of why his opinion flipped from Sam Darnold to Baker Mayfield.

Here’s the honest to God’s truth,” Highsmith said, via the Canton Repository. “From the start of this college football season to the end of the season, I had Darnold No. 1 and Baker No. 2, [Josh] Rosen No. 3, [Lamar] Jackson No. 4 and [Josh] Allen after that. On our way through everything, you couldn’t tell me Darnold wasn’t the best. I did all my evaluations of the season.”

So what changed?

“[T]he part where you meet them off the field,” Highsmith said. “You watch their workouts. You watch everything. And Baker blew me away. Highly, highly intelligent. Highly competitive.

“And he had a trait that some of the good ones have. I call it efficacy. That includes the power to effect other people. I thought that of all the quarterbacks I watched, he stood out far and above the other guys. When he walked into a room, you knew he was there.”

This meshes with a story that has been mentioned a time or two over the past few weeks, most recently by Peter King of SI.com. When Mayfield had his private workout for the Browns, seven teammates were there to catch passes. When he arrived, Mayfield called out, “Hee hee!” They responded with the same sound, and then came jogging over to him.

That’s the quality, the “it” factor, the magic that allows a quarterback to naturally lead others. It’s what, as one league source recently explained to PFT, set John Elway apart. Per the source, a former Elway teammate said that, when Elway was in the huddle, he simply had a way of convincing his teammates that they were destined to win the game.

And here’s where stats and analytics take a backseat to intangibles. If a quarterback can exert effortless, organic leadership, the quarterback possesses a quality that plenty of his peers may not possess.

39 responses to ““Efficacy” swayed Alonzo Highsmith on Baker Mayfield over Sam Darnold

  1. I’m glad you included the Elway reference. As a life-long Browns fan, I dutifully despised Elway for years, but then came around and was happy for him to get his rings, especially after the helicopter spin play near the goal line vs. Green Bay. Baker reminds me of Elway in the way he wills the people around him forward.

    There’s a leadership quality in this kid that can’t be measured, but the great ones have it and we all see it. It far outweighs height and hand size.

  2. Browns wouldn’t know a good player from bad, clueless organization from top to bottom. Keep on truckin’.

  3. Darnold has the “It” factor. People don’t know how bad USC was before Darnold came a long it was the Darnold/Ronald Jones show at USC after that drought. I’ll take being bored for 15 years over drama and hype for 4 years..this is stupid reasoning, Bill Parcells literally came out today and ripped the Browns today, I hope for Browns fans sake that Baker works out because the NFL is fun with the Jets and Browns winning.

  4. I only watched a few Sooner games, but in those it was obvious that Mayfield was the team leader. It’s also obvious that the Browns need team leadership.

  5. “I had Darnold No. 1 and Baker No. 2, [Josh] Rosen No. 3, [Lamar] Jackson No. 4 and [Josh] Allen after that.”

    Funny how the pre-draft buzz had the Browns taking Allen when, from the sounds of it, he was never even a consideration.

  6. Well, I guess it’s better than moving the earth beneath Hue Jackson’s feet.

  7. Watched every Baker game from the last 2 years, his vision and ability to scan the field and his accuracy are some of best out of any recent QB. If he were 4 inches taller, he would had been labeled a generational talent. I like Sam Darnold as well, high upside guy who’s only 20 years old. He has a great feel for the game, great ability to create something out of nothing, big frame with sneaky elusiveness and the accuracy is there. The Browns could not had gone wrong with both guys, but to downplay Baker’s talent is ridiculous. He is a baller

  8. It’s great to have a real leader on your team and not just another Joe Flacco, but I remember thinking Kaepernick was a better leader of men in his early years than Alex Smith was, and after a couple losing seasons we saw his confidence and character crumble into the silent unhappy man we know today.

    It’s tough to tell who’s a natural born leader and who’s just riding high on a wave of winning games, until you see them truly struggle.

  9. Say what you want, I think things are changing for the better in Cleveland. This is Dorsey’s first year in Cleveland, along with Wolf, and Highsmith. You can’t couple the guys from the past, with these guys. As a Packers fan, these guys know what the hell they are doing, unlike the other morons that were in the Browns FO before. Baker Mayfield is the most complete QB in the draft, and if he were 2” taller, there wouldn’t even be a question on who is the best QB. The Browns made some nice additions, and filled the holes they needed to fill.

  10. I really hope he is the franchise Pro bowler the Browns fan’s deserve. A competitive Browns team is good for everyone in the NFL. A decent Browns team is good for all fans who enjoy good competitive football games.

  11. First time I saw Darnold he destroyed my UDub Huskies.. .just destroyed them. He went the rest of that season looking like a beast. Not so much last year at all. Don’t know what happened, but he just looked ‘ok’ —

    Baker, if he’s got that ‘it’ factor, like Russell Wilson did when he was panned by everyone, and Baker can show the veteran’s (they are the key, not the coaching staff) that he can be a winner, it will be obvious from Day #1. I hope he’s successful That team has been the dregs for a long time.

  12. skoobyfl says:
    Browns wouldn’t know a good player from bad, clueless organization from top to bottom.
    >>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
    Maybe you didn't hear the news ………, there's a new sheriff in town skooby.

  13. Efficacy – the ability to produce a desired or intended result. For the idiots questioning someone education.

    Alonzo Highsmith

    Position: Vice President of Player Personnel
    Personal information
    Born: February 26, 1965 (age 53)
    Bartow, Florida
    Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
    Weight: 234 lb (106 kg)
    Career information
    High school: Miami (FL) Columbus
    College: Miami (FL)
    NFL Draft: 1987 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
    Career history
    As player:
    Houston Oilers (1987–1989)
    Dallas Cowboys (1990–1991)
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1991–1992)
    As executive:
    Green Bay Packers (2012–2017)
    Senior Personnel Executive
    Cleveland Browns (2018–present)
    Vice President of Player Personnel

  14. slaythegumptrump says:
    April 30, 2018 at 8:51 pm
    Marooncat79 he didn’t go to Miami…he went to Oklahoma. There is only one ‘The U.’
    ============================================================

    slay,

    He was talking about Alonzo Highsmith and what he said about the QB’s and Baker in particular. Alonzo did go to the University of Miami.

  15. I found the Browns 1st and 4th draft pick puzzling…
    It won’t come as a surprise if they don’t pan out… Many even expect them not to!

  16. There’s something to be said about “leadership,” but i wonder if that’s how it’s measured. I wonder if Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, et al would have been the ‘frat bro,’ “HEEE HEEE” type. I kinda doubt it. I kinda hope Baker was so “highly intelligent” that he pre-paid his receivers a six-pack each to come a-runnin’ when he walked in, just, you know, to impress the brass.

  17. slaythegumptrump says:
    April 30, 2018 at 8:51 pm
    Marooncat79 he didn’t go to Miami…he went to Oklahoma. There is only one ‘The U.
    ————————————-
    I’ll probably be about the 50th person to say this, but I believe he’s referring to Highsmith, not Mayfield. Highsmith did indeed go to the u.

  18. I’m not sure it was Alonzo’s call to make, but it was the right one.

    As for that comment above about “an education from the U,” Miami is ranked No. 46 nationally.

  19. Definition – the ability to produce a desired or intended result.
    We will see how efficacious Mr. Mayfield is with the Browns

  20. That’s cute and all…but then Elway junks Tebow and bets the house on Osweiler, Simien, Lynch, and now Keenan. Tebow was not truly a 47% passer (more like 52-57?), and his intangibles were so good they literally started calling crunchtime after his name. John Fox is death to QBs (Tebow always played better outside his influence just like Trubisky will now), and the Broncos won with a guy (old Manning) who was basically Tebow in his 3rd year without the running threat. Now the Broncos have nothing because they weren’t patient.

  21. Every fan of every NFL team should want every one of these drafted QBs to succeed. How exciting would it be to have more then 5 teams be great?

  22. Josh Allen last…??? Let’s see in a year or two how well he can judge QB’s…..

  23. ryann252013 says:
    April 30, 2018 at 8:55 pm
    Darnold has the “It” factor. People don’t know how bad USC was before Darnold came a long it was the Darnold/Ronald Jones show at USC after that drought. I’ll take being bored for 15 years over drama and hype for 4 years..this is stupid reasoning, Bill Parcells literally came out today and ripped the Browns today, I hope for Browns fans sake that Baker works out because the NFL is fun with the Jets and Browns winning.

    Uh wasn’t USC bad due to some shadiness? They weren’t floundering because of players, they sucked because the guys in charge were knuckle heads.

  24. In 2015 Browns owner, Jimmy Haslam admitted that a homeless guy looked into his eyes and told him to draft Johnny Manziel – and he did. I just wonder if that homeless guy is now employed full time by the Browns and gave them more Draft advice when I hear that Baker Mayfield has the “It factor” which they call efficacy, because 7 Sooner teammates immediately responded to his call of “Hee hee” at his Pro Day and came running. Call me crazy, but this sounds more like the B/S “It factor”.

  25. I’m rooting for him if only to stick it to all the ones commenting and bashing him.

    I hope he leads the Browns to 3 Super Bowls just to stick it to you.

    Of course, he’ll never be good enough for a lot of neanderthals that comment on here.

  26. Not to mention the fact that USC qb’s are ALWAYS overrated and NEVER amount to anything. Carson Palmer was the last decent qb from USC. Decent and serviceable but far from great.

  27. M’boy Baker, he got he swag on like Superman a/k/a “AceBoogie” a/k/a Cam(eron) Newton, just expresses it differently — but like Timmy Tebow and Cam, you wanna play ball with these dudes ‘cause ya know u gon’ have some fun.

  28. It’s never getting fixed Brown fans. Your VP of player personnel, seemingly a smart guy since he got trained by Ron Wolf and worked in Green Bay for years, just admitted that he was convinced to take a QB because his teammates responded back to him with a yelp at their pro day, something that if you went to any of these big time schools and have witnessed them like I did at FSU, is comical since everyone knows it’s the last time the band gets back together before they all go their separate ways. The school admin makes sure nothing will go wrong for them that day (unless you’re Teddy Bridgewater), so it’s no wonder they were yucking it up to begin with. However, let’s see how many players on the Browns go yee hee when they see his arm isn’t too far ahead of Cody Kessler’s from the last 2 years, and they’re like Bradley Chubb, Rosen, Barkley, and even the inaccurate Allen were on the board and you took this guy? Just so funny it’s sad at this point.

  29. For the folks saying things are changing in Cleveland, it is, but really, you cant do much worst than 0-32 over the last two years, that’s bizarre to say the least. But things wont get “playoff” better till you get a coach, which I think will happen after this years 5-11 season, it will be a nice enticing approach to nab a new coach.

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