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Pennington to Mayfield: Remember who you are

Sports Xchange - Tuesday 15th May, 2018

Baker Mayfield is going to receive a lot of advice, as that just comes with the territory of being a rookie in the NFL.

Chad Pennington, who serves as Mayfield's mentor with the Cleveland Browns, shared some of his words of wisdom for the first overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft in a phone interview with the Akron Beacon-Journal.

"My first piece of advice came from a place of transparency and honesty in saying that, 'Baker, you have to remember who you are,'" Pennington said. "'And that is a guy who was a twice walk-on in college, and without your work ethic and your talent, you would probably be a (graduate assistant) somewhere coaching.'"

Pennington was a first-round pick of the New York Jets in 2000 and played 11 seasons in the NFL. With that in mind, he has a goal for Mayfield.

"(To) keep that edge about (him), or this game and the entertainment value around this game will eat a player up and spit him out," he said.

Pennington also cautioned Mayfield to be careful with some of the pre-draft projects he embraced that could spell harm for the former Oklahoma quarterback.

"(O)nce you believe you're an entertainer, not a football player, your time is going to be limited in this league," Pennington told the newspaper "We talked about keeping it strictly about football, eliminating some of those distractions. I certainly understand the business side of building your brand, but like I tell all the rookies I speak with, your brand is not how many followers you have on Twitter and friends on Facebook. Your brand is how you work and how you treat people, and if your work ethic is right and you treat people right, your brand will be built the correct way."

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Mayfield is expected to learn while Tyrod Taylor assumes the starting responsibilities for the Browns.

The 28-year-old Taylor was among a series of moves made by Cleveland in the offseason, acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills in March.

Taylor guided Buffalo to the postseason for the first time since 1999 last season and already has drawn rave reviews from teammates along with an endorsement from coach Hue Jackson.

Mayfield's stock improved dramatically leading up to the draft. NFLDraftScout.com's senior analyst Rob Rang initially projected Mayfield as the fourth quarterback to be taken, but moved him up to No. 1 in his final mock draft.

That doesn't mean there isn't a huge learning curve for Mayfield, who passed for 4,627 yards and accounted for 48 touchdowns with just six interceptions while leading Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff last season.

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