So, no surprises for guessing who was the darling of Day 1 at the 2018 NFL Combine. That’s right, running back Saquon Barkley did not disappoint when it came to reaffirming what exactly he is. What he is is a machine!
When looking at his combine workout results it’s worth remembering that the kid weighs in at a pretty hefty 233lbs.
He topped the chart for the vertical jump at 41-inches, which was a full inch higher than the next highest results of Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough. He also recorded the second fastest 40-yard dash time at 4.40 seconds — the fastest was 4.38 seconds by Nyheim Hynes of N.C. State who is two and a half stone lighter than Barkley.
Not only is Saquon Barkley fast and athletic, but he’s also a powerhouse, which he proved during the bench-press workouts where he benched 225lbs a total of 29 times! This is more than the likes of legendary Browns OT Joe Thomas (28) and ILB Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers (27).
I saw a great graphic posted on Twitter by the NFL earlier today that illustrates just how well he performed at the 2018 NFL combine and how much potential he has to be great.
I must admit that if the Cleveland Browns are wanting to take him in the draft, all the indicators are showing that it’s going to have to be at #1. This is because teams are now seeing that the running back is indeed still a position that needs to be respected and given attention higher in the draft than not. Examples of that are the obvious additions of Ezekial Elliot at the Dallas Cowboys and Leonard Fournette at the Jacksonville Jaguars as they both massively improved those teams when they joined.
It can also be argued that there is so much talent around at the running back position these days that you don’t need to draft a player that high, especially not at #1 overall. Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara and Jordan Howard are but just a few names picked lower down in their respective drafts. This 2018 draft class appears to be no different as there is some great talent available, yet again, to be grabbed in slightly later rounds. Maybe round three could be the sweet spot again for getting your running back.
As a Browns fan, I’m torn as to whether they should use the #1 overall selection on Saquon Barkley simply because there is so much other talent at the position in this draft. I’m currently liking Nick Chubb from Georgia as he also faired very well during the combine but there are loads of others to watch out for in the NFL in coming seasons such as Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny, Royce Freeman, Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones etc. It’s a stacked class and is what reduces Barkley’s worth a little even though he’s clearly the best overall talent in the draft.
Do I think the Browns will take him first overall? God only knows at this stage. One of the great things about the NFL is that it’s never short of drama and intrigue and there’s plenty of time between now and the draft. I mean, we haven’t even started free agency yet! That, obviously, is going to have a massive bearing on who does what in the following draft.
The perfect scenario for me would be that the Cleveland Browns somehow manage to get QB Kirk Cousins in FA, which means they don’t have to use a top pick on one of these QB’s in the draft and can, therefore, use their picks to fill in other holes such as running back with Saquon Barkly at #1 and free safety/cornerback with Minkah Fitzpatrick out of Alabama at #4. After that they go about sorting the wide receiver position, offensive tackle (both left and right) as well as depth at linebacker etc. There’s so much still needed to get the Browns winning again that I really don’t think they are in a position to be plugging in a young QB right now, and they’ve proven that over the years with the carousel they’ve had at the position.
All I know is, the Browns will probably get ridiculed whether they take Saquon Barkley at #1 or not, so it really doesn’t matter in that respect (not that it matters what other ‘experts’ and fans think anyway) and I just hope that GM John Dorsey doesn’t overthink the process. I still believe a mentality of ‘best available player’ will work at this stage of the rebuild in Cleveland.