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Heisman holder Mayfield is top pick in NFL Draft, 7th pick apologises for racist tweets

The New York Giants opted for “the complete running back” Saquon Barkley in the second overall pick.

REIGNING HEISMAN TROPHY winner Baker Mayfield was the first pick in last night’s NFL draft, the annual selection of college players.

The Cleveland Browns chose Mayfield to kick off the first round of the draft which is considered one of the deepest in recent history for quarterbacks as four of the top 10 players taken were QBs.

23-year-old Mayfield is expected to eventually become the playmaking cornerstone for the Browns who also have Tyrod Taylor and Drew Stanton as QBs.

NFL: NFL Draft NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on stage as the absent Baker Mayfield is announced the number one pick. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

With a fourth pick to come, the Cleveland team had been expected to take a quarterback with the top pick but heading into the draft there was no consensus on who the No. 1 pick should be. Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward was taken up as the Browns’ fourth pick.

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley went second overall to the New York Giants and University of Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold was selected third by the New York Jets.

North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb rounded out the top five picks, going to the Denver Broncos.

The Buffalo Bills traded up from the 12th spot to No. 7 to select embattled quarterback Josh Allen who got in hot water earlier in the day for some racially charged social media tweets he made as a high school student. Allen apologised, saying he was ‘young and dumb’.

In the tweets, which have since been deleted, Allen repeatedly uses ‘the N-word’, and in one response to the question “Why are you so white?”, replies: “If it ain’t white, it ain’t right!”

In an interview with ESPN’s Chris Mortensen before the draft, Allen claimed the tweets did not reflect his character.

“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.

NFL: NFL Draft Josh Allen is a Buffalo Bill. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

“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 apologise for what I did.

“It sucks. My family is hurting. We never envisioned a day or night like this.”

The confident and charismatic Mayfield, who will have to turn around the fortunes of a team who went 0 for 16 last season, did not attend the draft at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in Arlington, Texas, choosing instead to watch it on TV at his family home in Austin, Texas.

He had a superb college career at the University of Oklahoma but also got some unwanted attention off the field, including being arrested in 2017 in Arkansas on charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. He reached a plea deal in June and paid a series of fines.

He threw for 14,607 career yards and had 131 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions. Last season he passed for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Cleveland holds the longest active post-season drought, dating back to 2002. The Browns are known for having a revolving door on their quarterback position. Since 1999 they have had a league-leading 28 different starting quarterbacks.

NFL: APR 26 2018 NFL Draft Source: Rich Graessle

The Giants wasted no time picking Barkley in the No. 2 position. Barkley is considered the complete running back package, possessing a combination of speed, strength and solid character.

“This kid makes our quarterback better,” New York GM Dave Gettleman said. “He makes our wide receivers better. He makes our O-line better. He makes our defence better because we’ll have a much stronger ability to hold the ball. He is a great kid.”

The Jets like to think they got a steal with quarterback Darnold in the third spot.

Several scouts had Darnold listed as the top pick overall so when Cleveland and the Giants passed on him the Jets pounced.

“I’m taking it head on,” Darnold said. “I’m a pretty confident guy and I’m really comfortable in my own skin, so I’m going to go in there, do my thing and do what the coaches ask me to do — and do that at the highest level.”

NFL: NFL Draft-Red Carpet Arrivals Josh Rosen stands for pre-draft photographs. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Former UCLA Bruins QB Josh Rosen was taken 10th overall by the Arizona Cardinals, and claimed every team ahead of the Cards in line made a mistake.

“There were nine mistakes ahead of me,” he told reporters on a conference call and also tweeted:

“Motivated beyond words…let’s go win championships.”

Complete first round picks of 2018 NFL Draft

1 Browns: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
2 Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
3 Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
4 Browns: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
5 Broncos: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
6 Colts: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
7 Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
8 Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
9 49ers: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
10 Cardinals: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
11 Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatric,k DB, Alabama
12 Buccaneers: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
13 Redskins: Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
14 Saints: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
15 Raiders: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
16 Bills: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
17 Chargers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
18 Packers: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
19 Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
20 Lions: Frank Ragnow, C/G, Arkansas
21 Bengals: Billy Price, C, Ohio State
22 Titans: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
23 Patriots: Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia
24 Panthers: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
25 Ravens: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
26 Falcons: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
27 Seahawks: Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
28 Steelers: Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech
29 Jaguars: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
30 Vikings: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
31 Patriots: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
32 Ravens: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

NFL Draft Football 18th pick for the Packers, Jaire Alexander celebrates in style. Source: David J. Phillip

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