In a conference call with the media, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. spent a lot of time talking about various draft happenings and what not, as is his job, and as usual, there was plenty to glean from it. The conversation that interested me the most from his recent conference call with the media? Penn State running back Saquon Barkley vs. Alabama cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Now, these are players who many San Francisco 49ers fans want, but Kiper discusses them in a certain context ... like which one the Cleveland Browns would take at No. 4 overall, and he’s not necessarily of the opinion that both would be available at that point.
“I’d be very surprised if Barkley and Fitzpatrick would both be there at four, because they’re two of the best five players in the draft,” Kiper said WednesdaY. “But if they are both there, that’s a tough call.”
I doubt both players can make it down to the 49ers, who have a huge need at corner and a potential need at running back depending on what happens with Carlos Hyde in free agency. Many 49ers fans want both, but here is Kiper talking about both being unlikely to be available at fourth overall.
“Fitzpatrick could be a centerpiece of your secondary, obviously he can play anywhere you want him to play,” Kiper said. “And then certainly Barkley would give you the run/catch/block option at running back. And you’re helping out your young quarterback and you’re finishing off that offensive side of the ball. That’s just a decision that their new GM, John Dorsey, would have to make. If you’re looking at Fitzpatrick and Barkley after taking the quarterback at one, you’ve got to feel pretty good if you’re the Cleveland Browns.”
The 49ers have their quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, and either of those two players would put them in a great position going forward. But here we are talking about the Browns, who have had so many opportunities to get a draft right at the top of the first round, I assume they’ll find a way to screw this up.
Hopefully, plenty of quarterbacks go before the 49ers get around to picking.