Baker Mayfield went to Cleveland with the first overall pick in last year’s draft, but that wasn’t what he was expecting to do.
Mayfield told ESPN that before draft day, he didn’t know he was the Browns’ pick — and that he actually thought the Browns were going to pass on him, and the Patriots would trade up to take him at No. 2 overall.
That idea isn’t totally crazy. Eventually, the Patriots are going to need to replace Tom Brady, and Mayfield’s agent said last year that the Patriots, who had two first-round picks and two second-round picks, had explored the possibility of trading all the way up to the second overall pick to draft Mayfield.
But Patriots coach Bill Belichick has generally preferred trading down in the draft, and has never pulled the trigger on a huge trade up like that. And even if Belichick had wanted to, Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman scoffed at trading down from No. 2, because he loved Saquon Barkley so much. It’s awfully unlikely that the Patriots and Giants would have agreed to a trade.
So while the question, “What if Baker Mayfield had succeeded Tom Brady in New England?” might be fun to speculate about, it was never a realistic possibility. Even if one of the people speculating about it was Mayfield himself.