Penn State running back Saquon Barkley was already considered one of the best prospects in this year’s NFL draft even before the Scouting Combine. But when he put on an incredible display of strength, speed and athleticism in Indianapolis, the talk began that he could actually be the first pick in the draft.
In fact, NFL Network is reporting that as of right now, Barkley is not only a strong candidate but probably the leader within the Browns organization to go with the first overall pick.
In today’s NFL, it sounds crazy that any running back would go first overall. The last running back to go first overall was Ki-Jana Carter in 1995. NFL teams just don’t value running backs like they used to.
And, of course, the Browns desperately need a franchise quarterback, and it would seem crazy for them to pass up on one to take any running back, even a running back prospect as good as Barkley.
However, the Browns also have the fourth overall pick. If they think there are three franchise quarterbacks this year — if they think Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold are all about equal — they could take Barkley first and still ensure themselves a top quarterback at No. 4.
Having a good quarterback is so much more important than having a good running back that if a quarterback and a running back are even close, the quarterback should always go first. But maybe the Browns think Barkley is the best player in the draft, and don’t think it’s close.