BEREA: Baker Mayfield couldn’t contain his tears when new Browns General Manager John Dorsey called him shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday to notify the quarterback from Oklahoma he had completed an improbable journey from being a two-time walk-on in college to the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling, a surreal feeling,” Mayfield said during a conference call. “Coming from my story, it’s something I only could have dreamed of, and it actually being a reality, it’s amazing.”

The Browns selected Mayfield first overall, choosing the reigning Heisman Trophy winner as their quarterback of the future over the other top-ranked passers in this year’s class, Southern California’s Sam Darnold (No. 3 overall, New York Jets), Wyoming’s Josh Allen (No. 7, Buffalo Bills) and UCLA’s Josh Rosen (No. 10, Arizona Cardinals).

The Browns also chose Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, a Nordonia High School graduate, fourth overall.

Mayfield spent draft night at a party hosted by his parents at their house in Austin, Texas, and he used a live video on Instagram to capture his reaction to becoming the top pick.

When Dorsey asked Mayfield, “You want to be the first pick in the draft,” the quarterback became overcome with emotion.

“When he asked me that, I had already been, 15 minutes prior to that, kind of looking around my house and seeing who I was surrounded by, people from all different stages of my life that have helped me out,” Mayfield said. “It just kind of brought out all of the emotions of the tough times that we went through and the good ones. To think about it all there in that moment, it was going to be a fresh start, and it was a whole lot of emotion packed into one phone call. When he asked me that, that’s an emotional thing for me.”

Almost no one outside of the Browns organization saw Dorsey’s decision coming until the past few days. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Dorsey had known for six weeks he would choose Mayfield at No. 1, but the GM said the Browns reached unanimous consent on Monday. Coach Hue Jackson said he was kept “in the loop” about the decision.

“With Baker Mayfield, what we have is a guy who wins the game of football, is ultra-competitive, is revered by his teammates and anybody who has ever been around him,” Dorsey said. “This is a guy that has earned everything he has ever had from high school to college and now up here.”

Known for a brash personality and competitive fire teammates rally around, Mayfield is the fifth quarterback picked in the first round by the Browns during their expansion era and the first one to be selected earlier than No. 22 overall since they took Tim Couch at No. 1 as an expansion team in 1999.

Pecking order

Jackson reiterated Thursday night trade-acquisition Tyrod Taylor will be the starting quarterback for the Sept. 9 season opener at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers and that Mayfield “gets it.”

Mayfield vowed last month at the NFL Scouting Combine not to settle for a backup job anywhere, but spoke as if he’ll fall in line after he was picked.

“I know exactly what [the Browns] said, and I absolutely respect that,” Mayfield said. “[Taylor is] a veteran that’s been in the league. He’s a guy that I could sit behind and learn from. For me, when I say those type of things, it’s because I’m competitive. If I came in with the mindset of just being happy I got drafted and just to settle for a backup job, that wouldn’t be myself.

“I’m going to come in with the mindset to compete but also with the hunger to learn from a guy that’s been in the league, that’s seen things that I haven’t seen. I’ve said multiple times that the best thing to happen to me throughout this process at Oklahoma was sitting for the year after I transferred.

“I wanted to be a guy that comes [to Cleveland] and helps change the culture of a locker room and to be a positive energy and to be a leader on the team no matter what the playing time looks like. That does not matter to me. I just want to be able to help a team win and to strive for greatness.”

Coming off records of 1-15 and 0-16 under Jackson the past two seasons, the Browns have started 28 quarterbacks since their rebirth in the eternal quest for a long-term answer Dorsey is betting Mayfield will provide.

“It’s a mentality. You can think about what’s happened in the past or you can focus on the present and work for the future,” Mayfield said. “For Cleveland right now, we’re making the right moves and Tyrod and I, we’re going to put an end to that list of the QB names on the back of the jersey.”

Mayfield finished his career with a record of 33-6 as the starter at Oklahoma, where he walked-on after doing the same at Texas Tech and later transferring to join the Sooners.

Operating almost exclusively out of shotgun in three seasons at Oklahoma, Mayfield completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 12,292 yards and 119 touchdowns with 21 interceptions and rushed for 18 touchdowns. Last season, he completed 70.5 percent of his passes for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns with six interceptions and rushed for five touchdowns.

“Here’s a guy who wins football games [and has] tremendous accuracy,” Jackson said. “Obviously, the guy was the best college quarterback this year — by far — in our opinion and going through our process and meeting with him and spending time with him and putting him on the board, digging into everything about Baker we feel very comfortable that this was the guy for us.”

Risk involved

Despite Mayfield’s remarkable collegiate resume, Dorsey is going out on a limb by selecting him at No. 1 because the quarterback lacks prototypical height — he’s 6-foot-⅝ and 215 pounds — and there are well-documented questions about his maturity and attitude.

As a result, Mayfield has been fighting comparisons to former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, a 5-foot-11 3/4 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M, throughout the pre-draft process. Manziel, the 22nd overall pick in 2014, partied his way out of the league in just two seasons.

“Johnny and I are two completely different people,” Mayfield said. “That’s nothing against him. But what I’ve been able to do is be upfront and honest about who I am during these meetings. I’m confident that I showed that with this coaching staff and with the management throughout this process. But for me moving forward, it’s just being myself. I’m not going to go out and try and prove I’m not Johnny. I’m going to be myself, and in the end, that’s going to take care of the rest.”

Mayfield was arrested Feb. 25, 2017, after he ran from police while under the influence of alcohol and got tackled by an officer in Fayetteville, Ark. He later pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges: public intoxication, disorderly conduct and fleeing.

Mayfield, 23, also raised eyebrows last season by planting a flag on the field after a victory at Ohio State and grabbing his crotch while directing expletives toward his opponents from the sideline at Kansas.

Yet, Dorsey has repeatedly defended Mayfield’s character since the Senior Bowl in January. Dorsey said he vetted Mayfield’s arrest so thoroughly he even knows what the player ordered at a food truck before police were called to check out an assault report.

“In doing all of our research with Baker Mayfield, he is an individual that has earned it all the way through his life,” Dorsey said. “As I look at this thing, whatever he has done, high school, college and now here, he has really earned and worked his way up here. One thing I really love is when you talk to the Oklahoma staff, when he gets to Oklahoma, he begins to learn the playbook in three days. He loves the game of football. He loves to study the game of football. I have no qualms about this guy whatsoever as a man or as a football player. I think he is a really good person.”

Dorsey must be convinced because his era as Browns GM will likely be defined by Mayfield.

Last month at the NFL Scouting Combine, Dorsey ribbed Mayfield as soon as he walked into their meeting by asking him if he likes food trucks.

“[Dorsey has] been up front and honest about messing with me about my mistakes,” Mayfield said, “and I’ve been honest about what I’ve learned from it and the fact that it shouldn’t have happened.”

Mayfield joined Manziel as the seventh quarterback who’s 6-1 or shorter to become a first-round pick since 1970. Michael Vick, listed at 6-foot and 210 pounds during his playing days, was drafted first overall in 2001. Rex Grossman (No. 22, 2003), Cade McNown (No. 12, 1999), Jim McMahon (No. 5, 1982) and Clint Longley (No. 1, 1974) are the others on the list.

Dorsey explained why he doesn’t view Mayfield’s height as a turnoff.

“If you look at the balls batted down at the line of scrimmage, guess what? He was the No. 1 guy who had the least amount of batted down balls at the line of scrimmage,” Dorsey said. “What he does mechanically is he gets back faster than anybody in terms of getting the play back. That gives him an extra couple of yards to see the field, extend the play and make those plays downfield.”

Jackson prefers quarterbacks who are 6-2 or taller.

“He is an outliner that is really good,” Jackson said. “We cannot stress it and say it enough. This guy is as good of a quarterback going out [of college] statistically that there has been. You take the other characteristics that we look for in leadership, getting guys to play and the hunger and the desire to be the best, there is no question that it all added up for us.”

Info gathered

Speaking of measurements, Dorsey values hand size and said the Browns measured Mayfield’s hands at 9 3/4 inches during his pre-draft visit to team headquarters. His hands actually measured 9 1/4 inches at the combine.

So what gives?

“I did it three different times to make sure it was right with three different people,” Dorsey said. “Every time, it was 9 6/8 here in our building. Sometimes at the combine, they may rush through those processes because it is almost like an assembly line type of measurement, and it is not the true measurement.”

Mayfield also impressed the Browns with his demeanor and intelligence when they met with him leading up to the draft.

“This guy has a chip on his shoulder,” Jackson said. “I think we all know that because I think that he has a burning desire to be the best. I think what I saw from him was a guy who is a leader of men, and I think that is very important. He gets his teammates to play at a whole different level. I think that was seen at Oklahoma, and I expect him to do that here. He has got to earn the right to do that, and I think that he understands that.

“When he was in our building, the dialogue – we spent four to five hours with him and we had him on the board [drawing up plays] for about four hours of that time – he did outstanding. It is more to playing quarterback – I think we all know – than just throwing the ball. You have got to be able to understand the game and be able to process the game and play under duress because that is what pro football is. I think this guy can do that at a high level.”

There were some signs Dorsey would make Mayfield his first pick as GM of the Browns, a job he filled on Dec. 7.

The most glaring one is Browns consultant Scot McCloughan coveting him. Before the Browns hired McCloughan, a former GM of Washington and San Francisco, he revealed Mayfield is his favorite QB in this class and compared him to Hall of Famer Brett Favre during radio interviews in October and January. Dorsey and McCloughan are close friends who worked together in Green Bay when Favre led the Packers to a Super Bowl win.

“If [McCloughan] was here or not, I would have still done the same thing,” Dorsey said.

Despite Dorsey anointing Mayfield “the best available player” this year, the quarterback vowed to keep the chip on his shoulder that has helped him succeed thus far.

“I haven’t done anything yet,” Mayfield said. “It’s a blank slate, and right now, I’m not going to get complacent.”