James Franklin makes pitch for Saquon Barkley to be the No. 1 pick

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Yes, we expect a draft prospect’s former coach to say great things about the prospect. (Jim Mora didn’t that memo.) Penn State coach James Franklin, despite his obvious bias, makes a sensible argument in favor of running back Saquon Barkley.

“If there was a no-brainer quarterback out there or a couple of them that were just head and shoulders above everybody else and didn’t have question marks, then you take the quarterback every time,” Franklin said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “From the stuff I’ve seen and heard, that’s not really the case.”

Franklin is right. Every incoming quarterback has a flaw, an area of concern, a reason for not making that quarterback the first overall pick. For Barkley, the primary knock is that great running backs can be gotten in every round of the draft, and sometimes not in the draft at all. But if Barkley is truly regarded as a can’t-miss prospect, and if none of the quarterbacks are, maybe Barkley should be the pick.

“There are knocks on all those [quarterbacks], whether it’s decision-making, completion percentage, whether it’s touchdown-to-interception ratio, whether it’s body type, whether it’s leadership, whether it’s character,” Franklin said. “In the NFL, in college football and then really kind of in business in general, what everybody’s trying to do is you’re trying to reduce risk, and that’s what you get with Saquon.”

Franklin’s only negative assessment of Barkley also could be regarded as a positive, with Franklin calling Barkley’s off-the-charts Scouting Combine performance “very average.”

“I know he’s done 34 reps of 225 [pounds] multiple times,” Franklin said. “I would not have been surprised if he would have run in the 4.2s at the Combine, and I say that because our Combine numbers are almost identical year in and year out at what we’ve tested guys at. What we tell the scouts our guys run, they run at the Combine, and he’s run 4.3 here forever. So he actually had a fairly average Combine.”

Barkley likely won’t have a fairly average career. And any team that passes on him for a passer who ends up being worse than average will surely regret missing the chance to draft Barkley.

22 responses to “James Franklin makes pitch for Saquon Barkley to be the No. 1 pick

  1. Barkley wasn’t even the best running back in the Big Ten. Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor crushed Barkley in just about every RB facet possible. Barkley being a top pick is non sense talk.

  2. This is a SB type RB. If you are ready to win now or even if you need three to five years-this is the guy to be THAT player that takes you over the edge.

  3. Browns going to make a mistake if they don’t pick this once in a lifetime athletic with the first

  4. cabosan1978 says:

    Barkley wasn’t even the best running back in the Big Ten. Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor crushed Barkley in just about every RB facet possible. Barkley being a top pick is non sense talk

    —————

    I am a Wisconsin fan and an Alum and you’re nutz. Barkley was the best RB in the nation, and easily so.

    Taylor is going to be great, better than Ron Dayne IMO, but he has to learn to hang onto the ball and work in the passing game.

    And I agree with Franklin. If I were the Browns, I’d take Barkley first then see if any of the QBs is left at #4 that I might want. If not, take Chubb and comeback next year for a QB because you still aren’t going to win without one.

  5. As a fan of a team that needs a QB and picks shortly after the Browns I wholeheartedly support the Browns drafting Barkley.
    They can take a QB with their #4 pick.
    Josh Allen will still be there for them.

  6. Barkley is a talented player but he’s not perfect either .He had an inconsistent season with eight games under 100 yds rushing and didn’t play well in their two Big Ten losses against OSU and MSU .

  7. The Giants want him which is why they keep publicly talking about quarterbacks. They’re hiding the fact that they want him. If the Browns brass thinks he’s going to be there at 4, I seriously question their entire draft board.

  8. BS….you HAVE to take a QB at #1 if you’re the Browns…too many years of messing up not doing so…unless they are totally stupid (wellll…). And they can probably get Barkley at #4 anyway after the Bills panic and sell the farm to get the Giants #2 pick.

  9. I’m not convinced Barkley is a can’t miss. Sure, he had over 1200 yards rushing last year in 13 games. However, 786 of those yards were in five games against Akron, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska and Washington. However, he only had 35 yards (2.5 ypc) against that powerhouse Rutgers. He only had four games where he rushed for over 100 yards. Four. He had three games where he rushed for less than 50. Against Ohio State he had 44 yards on 21 carries and 36 of those yards were on ONE carry. That means he had 8 yards on the other 20 carries. Against Indiana he had 56 yards on 20 carries. Rutgers and Indiana are hardly powerhouses. Why spend a high first-round pick on a guy who only shows up in half the games. Sure he could go wild in a game but against good defenses he did nothing. Does that sound like a top five pick? It doesn’t to me.

  10. Why wasn’t he more dominant in college?! Pretty sure he had fewer games with less than 100 yards rushing than with 100 yards rushing.

  11. Most great running backs never win a thing. Walter Payton only won when the Bears had a dominating defense. If the Browns want Barkley, he should be there at #4. No matter what the Giants and Jets say, they both need quarterbacks. The better move for the Browns would be to take a quarterback with the first pick and take Chubb at #4, if available.

  12. What has Adrian Peterson ever won?

    ——–
    You can’t fault AP for being better than the team’s he was on in Minnesota. If there even a chance sb can be a Todd Gurley type talent you’ve got to pick him.

  13. What has Adrian Peterson ever won?

    ——–
    You can’t fault AP for being better than the team’s he was on in Minnesota. If there even a chance sb can be a Todd Gurley type talent you’ve got to pick him.

    Also AP has only won multiple rushing titles, comeback player of the year and carried Minnesota in any year they were partially good during his prime. Like with all rbs when you get run into the ground for one year it’s the the beginning of the end. Example….Demarco Murray, it just took AP longer than most rbs.

  14. RBs get injured all the time. Their performance is also heavily influenced by line play. If I had one of the top 5 picks and I needed a QB. I take the best QB available. If you don’t need a QB then upgrade your line. If you don’t need a tackle then upgrade your CBs or WRs. If your team is picking in the top 5 it needs upgrades at one or all of those positions before even considering a RB.

  15. atthemurph says:
    April 16, 2018 at 9:57 am
    Barkley was the best RB in the nation, and easily so.
    ————————————————
    Really? Barkley’s rushing yards from last year:
    week 2 – 88 yards
    week 3 – 47 yeards
    week 5 – 56 yards
    week 6 – 75 yards
    week 8 – 44 yards
    week 9 – 63 yards
    week 10 – 35 yards
    week 12 – 77 yards

    Now go and compare that to Jonathan Taylor. Or any other top tier RB in NCAA last year. Barkley is lucky to be considered average at best. He will be a bust. Lock it up.

  16. cabosan1978 says:
    April 16, 2018 at 12:10 pm
    atthemurph says:
    April 16, 2018 at 9:57 am
    Barkley was the best RB in the nation, and easily so.
    ————————————————
    Really? Barkley’s rushing yards from last year:
    week 2 – 88 yards
    week 3 – 47 yeards
    week 5 – 56 yards
    week 6 – 75 yards
    week 8 – 44 yards
    week 9 – 63 yards
    week 10 – 35 yards
    week 12 – 77 yards

    Now go and compare that to Jonathan Taylor. Or any other top tier RB in NCAA last year. Barkley is lucky to be considered average at best. He will be a bust. Lock it up.
    ____________________
    Saquan Barkley, 1271 rushing yards, 18 TD’s; 632 receiving yards, 3 TD’s; Yards from scrimmage, 1903 yards, 21 TD’s. It is curious however, that he has Big 10 personal awards, but I did not see NCAA awards. Not sure exactly then what he really is. We do have to be careful what we hear reported from the media. They are the biased of the biased-I am finding out. Basically, unreliable.

  17. 1)Barkley 2) Denver takes Darnold after trading up to 2. 3) Rosen or Mayfield, toss up 4)Josh Allen 5) Giants take Chubb. After that, there’s a Rugby scrub for either Mayfield or Rosen.

  18. The Browns are NOT going to draft Barkley, not at one, not at four. They will take Chubb at four. If Chubb is gone, they will trade the four pick. Only a few more days of all this nonsense. Thankfully!

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