Rapoport: Barkley in the mix for #1

As the NFL Scouting Combine winds down in Indianapolis, the Browns have finished another step in the process to finding the franchise quarterback.

However, one prospect is trying and may have made things a little difficult in that process for the Browns.

Saquon Barkley stole the show on Friday during his on-field workout during the running back portion of the combine and a few prominent NFL writers are reporting that Barkley is in the mix or will indeed be the top overall pick for the Browns come late April.

I will say that this is silly season and that there is tons of rumors that will come out about what the Browns will do or won’t do in the draft.

Barkley is the most talented player in the draft and many have him as the best overall prospect in the draft. Many have also pegged Barkley as the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson in 2007 which is impressive considering Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette have been the top running backs in each of the previous three NFL Drafts.

During his three year career at Penn State, Barkley rushed for 3,843 yards and 43 rushing touchdowns. He also had 102 catches for 1,195 yards and 8 receiving touchdowns.

A dynamic playmaker is something the Browns have been lacking on offense when Josh Gordon hasn’t been on the field over the last several years. Adding him to an offense with Gordon along with Duke Johnson and David Njoku could cause nightmares for opposing defenses for years to come.

However, the Browns shouldn’t take Barkley with the first pick and should focus on taking their top rated quarterback to avoid another situation where they miss out on their guy.

Quarterback has been the one position that’s haunted the Browns since 1999 and haven’t taken the best prospect at that position since 1999 when they selected Tim Couch.

Over the last several drafts, Cleveland missed out or didn’t choose to select Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson.

Whoever the Browns think is the best quarterback out of this crop, whether it’s Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield or Josh Rosen should be the first pick in the draft and that way the team can start to build around that guy for the next decade.

There’s a good possibility that Barkley could be there for Cleveland with the fourth overall pick but New York and Indianapolis both need running backs and could take him at 2 or 3.

If the Browns miss out on Barkley, there’s still a talented crop of running backs in this draft that they can draft to accompany their rookie quarterback in the backfield like Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones or Sony Michel.

While Barkley is a very talented football player, the quarterback position is more important in today’s NFL and it’s what the Browns need to do at #1.



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