After the NFL Combine, prospects’ stock will go up and down. Running back Saquon Barkley’s stock now has him in discussion as the number 1 pick to the Cleveland Browns. NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport reports that Barkley is “firmly” in as the first pick.
After days of evaluation at the #Combine, one thing is clear: Penn St RB Saquon Barkley is firmly in the mix at No. 1 for the #Browns, sources say. Would be the first RB at that spot since Ki-Jana Carter to the #Bengals in 1995.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 4, 2018
The Browns have the 1st and 4th picks in this year’s NFL Draft. One of those picks will be for a quarterback. According to Rapoport in a subsequent video segment, the Browns are high on Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield if Barkley is taken first. If they go quarterback first, they could scoop up Barkley with the 4th pick provided he’s still available.
Based on comments at Niners Nation, a number of San Francisco 49ers fans hold hope that the 49ers can manage to get Barkley if he falls to 9th. After his impressive NFL Combine performance, that’s not happening. If this is any indication, the lowest he’ll go is 4th. Of course, the 49ers could facilitate a trade to get him, but that would require an awful lot of draft capitol to get from 9th to 4th and they have other pressing needs, like getting the offensive line solidified. Kyle Shanahan has had success with taking running backs in the later rounds.
How badly do other teams want Barkley? Well...Mike Freeman can answer that:
NFL assistant coach on Saquon Barkley: “I would punch myself in the nuts many, many, many times to be able to draft him.”— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) March 4, 2018
Sorry, Barkley fans. But the dream is dead. He’s not coming to the 49ers.