Last night the number one and two overall picks in the most recent NFL draft faced off. Baker Mayfield and the Browns played Saquon Barkley and the Giants in both teams first preseason game. There was plenty of hype coming into this game. Both teams wanted to see what these guys could do against NFL players.
How did it all go?
Now, it needs to be said that both players did not face most of the other team's first string defense, as is the case in most preseason games. Both guys played well. I believe Barkley took his first carry for a TD, or maybe a long run. Either way, he came out of the gates great. Mayfield played well too. He looked poised, was threading needles and threw 2 touchdowns.
So, how did the sports media treat this nothing game?
The hype this morning grew to an all time high. Everything I saw was headlined with words like, "These guys were worth the risk", or, "Mayfield and Barkley are poised to be super stars", or, "looks like both teams have their new star player to build a team around". There was a lot of other stuff along these same lines. People were going nuts. Social media was even crazier. Giants and Browns fans were obnoxiously claiming that these guys were the future of football. It was intense.
To all this I say, calm the hell down. It was the first preseason game for both teams. Neither guy faced anyone that they will face in a real football game. Both guys are going to have moments like this, but they will also have moments where the game seems much, much to big for them. I know people like to crown guys early and often in football, but when it comes to a Browns QB, and a high first round running back for the Giants, I would think the fans would know better. I would think they would be very cautious with their praise. I think they would be waiting to crown these guys until they did this stuff in the 10th game of the regular season, and had done it all year.
Look, I have very little expectations for Mayfield. I think the Browns reached when they drafted him first overall. They had another pick, number 4, where they could have gotten them. Hell, I think they had another later first round pick where Mayfield may have still been available. But, they jumped at the chance to take him first overall. After all, he was the Heisman winner and had 2 great college seasons. He also dazzled at the combine and at his pro day. I feel like they thought they had no other choice but to pick him number one overall. Well, guys like Jamarcus Russell, David Carr, Joey Harrington, Akili Smith, they all had this same type of hype heading into the draft. Where are all those guys now? How did they fare in their NFL careers? And I don't remember exactly how well they played in their first preseason games, but I'm sure they did just as well as Mayfield. The kid is very short, and he isn't Drew Brees or Russell Wilson. He is also a hard core malcontent, but no one ever mentions that because he is white. Yeah, I said it. Mayfield is like Johnny Manziel 2.0. Yes, he looked good last night, but wake me up when he does this against a real team in a real game. If he wins more than 4 games as a starter this year, I will be absolutely shocked. I have absolutely no faith in him as a quality starter, let alone a player to build around, and who will be in the MVP conversation year after year.
As far as the Barkley hype goes, this is specifically for you Giants fans, wasn't Ron Dayne this good in his first preseason? How did that turn out? Yes, Barkley is more versatile than Dayne was, but the Giants had a better team, and more importantly, a better offensive line when Dayne was there, and he was a total bust. The Giants stink right now, and their offensive line is horrendous. Also, Eli freaking Manning is their starting QB. I also heard that the Giants were flirting with Barkley as a kick and punt returner. What the hell are they thinking. Do they want this kid to get hurt before he can do anything that compares to what he did last night? The Giants are in need of a full rebuild, especially at QB, but they went with the best athlete in the draft, and he just happens to be a running back. Barkley reminds me a lot of Ezekial Elliot, minus all the physical abuse that Elliot has done to woman. The only exception, Elliot had a solid O line in Dallas. The Giants do not have that. You know what else the Cowboys have that the Giants don't? A competent QB. Yeah, Dak Prescott took a step back last season, but he is still much, much, much, much better than Eli Manning. So while Barkley is one hell of an athlete, he has no chance to succeed due to a terrible QB and an O line that will get him murdered by week 3. Someone like Michael Bennett or Jadaveon Clowney, or insert big time defensive player here, will be licking their chops waiting to crush this rookie. And that Giants O line will let that very thing happen.
What I am trying to say is, calm the hell down after one preseason game, especially since they played one another. I'm going to start my preseason NFL countdown next week, and a little sneak behind the curtain for you, the Browns are dead last on my list, and the Giants, they are not much better. I will most likely have them as the second worst team heading into this year. So take last night's game with the biggest grain of salt you can find. I was already skeptical of these 2, and last night did nothing to change my mind. They have a whole season to prove me wrong, but I don't think they will.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He does not know the pain of having pointless hope in NFL draft picks. Come to Cincinnati and see how the Bengals treat a fan's hope.
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