Who’d of thought that one player could divide a team’s fanbase so much. The player in question is the fantastic Saquon Barkley out of Penn State.
This guy was already regarded as one of the best overall talents in the 2018 NFL draft and he cemented that thought process when he dominated the combine. The guy is absolutely outstanding!
Before I start banging on about his combine results I feel I must say that the guy is a big dude. Out of the top prospects in this runningbacks class, he’s the heaviest at 233lbs and is a good height at 6’0″.
Even though he’s the heaviest of the top talents in the RB class, he ran the second-fastest 40-yard time at 4.40 seconds, just behind Nyheim Hines (who?) at 4.38 seconds.
Barkley also did a vertical of a huge 41″, which was the best in the class (and one of the best at the whole combine with only 4 other players jumping half an inch higher) and benched 225lbs a total of 29 times, which was tied first with Nick Chubb.
The reason people are arguing on good old Twitter is because some people are adamant the Browns need to take the best QB at #1 and then whoever is left at #4 and is top of their list, whilst other people are arguing that the Browns should take best available and then whichever of the top 4 QB’s is left at #4 and sits highest on their scouted list.
There is logic in both these trains of thought and I think, as is the norm with stuff like this, it could be argued forever (and I have no doubt it will be, especially when all the hindsight warriors get involved some 12-18 months down the road as they have done with Carson Wentz and DeShaun Watson).
The arguments are currently that the Browns still have some many holes on the team that best player available is still a viable strategy. Personally, I agree with this and would like to see Saquon Barkley in a Browns uniform for at least the next 5 seasons. Then you have the people arguing that they absolutely MUST draft the best QB at #1! What makes me laugh at these people is that they can’t then tell you which is the QB to draft at #1, simply because they don’t have a clue which one is the best. Now, I’d hope the Browns organisation have more of an idea who they like as their top QB but I think it’s difficult to separate the top 3-4 at this stage.
Personally, I like Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield with Sam Darnold as my third choice then, reluctantly, Josh Rosen as 4th choice but thankfully it wouldn’t come to us having to choose him if we remained at #1 and #4.
What Would I Do?
Honestly, I’m easy with both ideas and would be happy with either. If they take a QB at #1, that’s fine as they get the guy they wanted and if they are dead-set on one of these guys then this is what they should do. The talk changes from day to day with who the Browns really like at QB in this class and it varies depending on which ‘expert’ is trying to get themselves heard.
As hard as I’m trying not to think he’s the guy, I can’t help but be drawn into thinking that Josh Allen is the perfect future QB in Cleveland, but he can’t start for a season or two as he would very likely end up on the QB scrap heap just like so many others.
His height is perfect at 6’5″ and his hand size is 10 1/8″, which makes him the only first round-worthy QB with hands over 10″. This is considered important to play somewhere like Cleveland due to the wet conditions they play in a lot of the time and big hands mean he can grip and control a wet ball better.
He also has a very strong arm which means he can negate the windy conditions they also have to play in quite often up north.
This was all known before the combine, but what we also found out is that he’s the fastest of the top QB prospects and is the 3rd fastest of all the QB’s with a 4.75 second 40-yard dash time. People are taking the piss out of his running style because his arms don’t come up very high as he runs. To me, his running style is deceiving and makes him look slow but those timing devices don’t lie and I’d say he made those fast times look effortless. This is another plus point for him.
The guy is athletic as well, which he showed in the other drills. He topped the vertical jump with 33.5″ (a full inch and a half higher than the next guy), broad jump at 119″ (a full four inches further than the next guy) and second in the 3 cone drill.
His arm strength is evident and even the other QB’s in the class and coaches and scouts in the building were obviously impressed by it.
The only knock on him is his accuracy as people are saying he’s only a 56% completion guy. This may be true, but I’d be more confident taking him and fixing a mechanics issue rather than taking Baker Mayfield and trying to fix his state of mind. I think Baker Mayfield will be ready to hit the NFL field as a starter sooner than Joash Allen but my instincts tell me a team is going to get more years of quality play and leadership out of Allen.
And then there’s Sam Darnold. I could probably bang on a bit about him here but that wouldn’t be fair as I haven’t seen enough of him yet. I was disappointed that he didn’t throw at the combine and that does put him down a little in my estimations. You’re a QB who’s touted by many to be the #1 overall pick and yet you don’t have enough confidence in yourself to throw at the combine? WTF? I really don’t like that attitude. He’ll throw at his pro day where he’s more comfortable but not throwing at the combine puts him below others on my draft board.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he made this decision in order to be put below others on the Browns draft board so they don’t pick him. He made noises earlier in the process of staying in college one more year and people read that to be because he didn’t want to go to the Browns at #1. Maybe this is that mentality coming through again.
So, what would I do? Well, if I were picking a QB at #1 I think I’d have to wrestle with in instincts all the way up until draft time but then go with them and pick Josh Allen at #1 overall followed by any one of Minkah Fitzpatrick, Saquon Barkley or even Quentin Nelson, Bradley Chubb or Derwin James at #4. There’s so much talent at #4 it’s daft.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Barkley is still there at #4 even though everyone is saying the Giants take him at #2. Surely they need to be concentrating on that crappy offensive line, don’t they? Big nasty Quentin Nelson could go at #2 or the Giants could trade down a few spots to a QB-hungry team just below them and still pick up Nelson and another pick or two.
That just leaves the Colts at #3 but they need help pressuring the QB and Bradley Chubb is exactly that and one of the top 3 prospects in the whole draft. In this scenario, we then pick up Barkley at #4 and everyone’s happy — except those of us who also want a safety, LOL! It’s a never-ending discussion.
Well, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I haven’t come to a conclusion as to what is the best course of action for the Cleveland Browns to take in the 2018 NFL draft.
I think I might be being blinded by the fact that Saquon Barkley is just so damn good and I don’t want to miss out on him and therefore he needs to be taken at #1 overall at the risk of missing out on Josh Allen and settling for Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield.
I think my favourite scenario right now is the one where the Giants trade down and pick up Quentin Nelson and we pick Allen at #1 and Barkley at #4.
I need to keep reminding myself, though, that there is masses of other talent at the RB position in this draft that can be picked up later and I rather like the look of Nick Chubb as a poor mans Saquon Barkley in the 2nd or 3rd round.
Let’s just say that I need to wait until some moves have been made in free agency before I can make any solid opinions and stop my head from feeling like it’s going to explode due to all the possibilities and if, buts and maybes.