CLEVELAND — Second-year Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield was featured in Monday’s episode of “Straight Up Steve Austin” and threw a few passes to the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Hall of Famer.
Following the episode featuring the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner, WWE posted a Twitter poll asking what Browns player would make the best pro wrestling superstar, and it is not an out-of-this-world thought, as several football players have made successful transitions to the squared circle, namely Ron Simmons, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Leon White (Vader) and Joe Anoa’i (Roman Reigns).
What is it that makes a WWE superstar? Athleticism, charisma, the ability to tell a physical story and evoking emotion from an audience are some of the characteristics of a WWE superstar and here is a look at four Browns players who would succeed as a professional wrestler.
Charisma? Yes, sir.
Ability to generate a reaction from an audience? As “Stone Cold” Steve Austin would say, “Oh, hell yeah.”
Mayfield would be a master at cutting a promo, but as he has shown on the football field, the first-team quarterback can back up the bravado with tangible productivity on game day.
After taking over the first-team offense in the second quarter of a Week 3 win over the New York Jets, Mayfield completed 310 of his 486 attempts (63.8 percent) for 3,725 yards and an NFL rookie record 27 touchdowns against 14 interceptions during the 2018 season.
Also, there is the matter of embracing the heel role.
Just in case his words were forgotten after a midseason coaching change, Mayfield served up a reminder after sealing a 26-18 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals with a 66-yard pass to second-year tight end David Njoku with 1:48 to play in the fourth quarter.
Following the completion, Mayfield appeared to stare down and smile at former Browns coach Hue Jackson while looking toward Cincinnati’s sideline, and then, backpedaled his way down the field before taking three snaps out of the victory formation to exhaust the clock.
If one were to create a wrestler in the WWE 2K video game series, it is hard to imagine someone fitting the personification of that more than Garrett.
The 6-foot-4, 272-pound Garrett looks as though he were chiseled out of granite, so much so that ESPN The Magazine will feature him in its upcoming “Body Issue.”
Then, there is the physical side.
Fully healthy coming into the 2018 season, Garrett emerged as a leader for the Browns’ defense and registered 44 total tackles, including 35 solo stops, while playing in all 16 games in close quarters combat against offensive linemen.
Of those 44 tackles, 13.5 were sacks on opposing quarterbacks for 75.5 lost yards and Garrett finished the year with the fourth-most sacks in a single season in franchise history.
“Freakish athlete,” defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said prior to training camp. “Knows how to get after the quarterback.”
Be it the dyed hair, the ability to back up outlandish claims with play on the field or his perfect timing for an ironic moment, Randall would make a great heel that was so good at his craft that fans of both the bad guys and the babyfaces would respect him.
Former Browns coach Hue Jackson became a special assistant for the Cincinnati Bengals just eight days after his dismissal from the in-state/AFC North Division rival club, and when the two teams met at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on November 25, one player in Cleveland’s secondary wanted to say “Hello.”
After corralling an interception of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton with 9:09 remaining in the second quarter, Randall handed the ball to and greeted Jackson when he ran out of bounds on the Cincinnati sideline.
Jackson patted Randall on the helmet after exchanging a quick handshake with his former player, and then, coaches and officials had to separate players from both teams, as the Bengals took exception to the gesture.
Takitaki is a good talker in press conferences and tenacious player on the field, known for his high motor and physicality.
Over 41 career games in four years with the BYU Cougars, Takitaki registered 241 total tackles, including 145 solo stops and 96 assists. Of those 241 total tackles, 33.5 went for lost yardage and 15.5 were sacks of opposing quarterbacks.
Takitaki defended five passes, forced two fumbles and recovered two others in his college career.
“He was just that guy in the program,” Browns assistant general manager Eliot Wolf said during the 2019 NFL Draft. “You go out to practice, and everyone is looking to him. He is a ball of energy, and he is a real leader and culture changer.”