Barkley, the highest prospect on the place on this class, is essentially the most proficient all-around again to enter the league since Ezekiel Elliott went No. four general to the Cowboys two years in the past. Barkley is anticipated to be a top-five choose, too.
Whereas current drafts counsel most groups will not be locked into the thought of drafting working backs early, there’s additionally proof of groups aggressively transferring as much as choose a particular, franchise-changing participant, no matter place.
MOCK DRAFT 2018:
Barkley lands inside prime 4 picks
Based mostly on rumors, Sporting Information has “narrowed down” the Barkley draft derby to a dozen groups, all of which at the moment maintain top-20 choices. Listed below are these 12 groups, ranked in relation to their chance of touchdown the Nittany Lion.
Saquon Barkley: Three lengthy pictures to draft him
12. Seahawks (No. 18 choose)
Seattle is not bringing again Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls or Mike Davis, leaving the trio of Chris Carson, C.J. Prosise and J.D. McKissic as its prime backs for 2018. For the reason that commerce for Marshawn Lynch greater than seven years in the past, the Seahawks have not gone large in addressing their backfield.
With Seattle’s protection and the passing sport taking some personnel hits, this 12 months would make sense because the time to lastly re-establish itself as a standard energy working workforce to each higher complement and complement Russell Wilson. The QB will get his likelihood to mentor Barkley on ESPN’s “QB2RB,” however discovering a method to pair the 2 for the long run can be troublesome.
The Seahawks haven’t got draft picks within the second or third rounds, with 5 mixed within the fourth and fifth rounds. That is not a lot to work with in sliding up the board to an affordable place.
11. Dolphins (No. 11 choose)
Miami’s wants embrace nearly the whole lot on protection, led by deal with, outdoors linebacker and security. Its luxurious choose can be leaning towards a future various to Ryan Tannehill at QB, ought to UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Wyoming’s Josh Allen or Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield nonetheless be accessible when it is on the clock.
As a result of the Dolphins would enhance with any “finest participant accessible,” a commerce up the board is unlikely. Within the extra unlikely occasion Barkley free-falls to No. 11, it could be logical for Miami to commerce out of the choose to be able to assist deal with a number of wants. In addition to, Kenyan Drake confirmed sufficient promise in taking up for Jay Ajayi final season for the Dolphins to suppose he can fly in a featured function from the get-go in 2018.
10. Jets (No. three choose)
Groups not often make strikes up the draft board for something aside from what they hope can be a franchise quarterback. Positive, Barkley is a franchise working again, and the Jets’ backfield at the moment has former Browns early-down again Isaiah Crowell as its finest new choice within the wake of Matt Forte’s retirement. In relation, Barkley is Samsonite, however the Jets have had an excessive amount of misplaced baggage at QB to not seize one of many Joshs off the carousel.
NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD:
Prime 50 gamers in 2018 class
Saquon Barkley: Three wild playing cards to draft him
9. 49ers (No. 9 choose)
It seems San Francisco is giving expensive free-agent addition Jerick McKinnon his likelihood to be extra of a characteristic again. Though McKinnon has some Tevin Coleman-like qualities, coach Kyle Shanahan is touting him as a Devonta Freeman-like lead again. However given that is the brand new, explosive 49ers offense led by Jimmy Garoppolo, their going for the gold of Barkley cannot be dominated out.
Buying Barkley most likely would require a slight slide, however the Niners are outfitted with a second-rounder and two third-rounders, giving them some flexibility to maneuver up a bit of. Shanahan’s gushing, drooling and geeking out on McKinnon, although, would make this choose come out of left area.
eight. Raiders (No. 10 choose)
Oakland signed Doug Martin, and Marshawn Lynch can be retained after a contract restructure. However that veteran committee raises sufficient sturdiness, age and due to this fact manufacturing issues in 2018 for the Raiders to hold Barkley on their radar. Oakland additionally employed Tom Shaw, Barkley’s NFL Mix coach, as its power coach.
Though it’s going to come right down to Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie pounding the desk for Barkley, it is clear the Raiders are attempting to alter their id to extra defense- and running-game oriented. Buying and selling up is unlikely, however ought to Barkley slip, there is a good likelihood the final word “Gruden grinder” may land in Oakland.
7. Colts (No. 6 choose)
The Colts dropping to No. 6 in their commerce with the Jets exhibits that, even with their cloudy backfield scenario — second-year gamers Marlon Mack and Josh Ferguson are their present prime post-Frank Gore choices — they did not suppose Barkley was well worth the choose at No. three versus the bounty of three further second-rounders over two drafts.
The great thing about the transfer is that Indianapolis can nonetheless get the elite pass-rusher it wants in N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb. Ought to Barkley nonetheless be accessible for the Colts at No. 6, it could make the choice a lot tougher. However the domino impact of the commerce doubtless units up Barkley to return off the board earlier than No. 6.
Saquon Barkley: Three sleepers to draft him
6. Redskins (No. 13 choose)
Save for the third-down boon of Chris Thompson, coach Jay Gruden has been annoyed in regards to the state of Washington’s backfield since he arrived. Rob Kelley had extra sturdiness points in 2017, and Samaje Perine fumbled his method into the doghouse. That prompted Gruden to confess it is potential for the Redskins to draft a working again early in 2018.
Washington would bounce for pleasure if Barkley is by some means nonetheless accessible after the primary dozen picks. The Redskins would like to get the No. 2 working again within the class because the fallback, however LSU’s Derrius Guice would possibly not be round at No. 44 general within the second spherical.
So the Redskins may use that choose to assist them slide up for Barkley; or, with Dolphins-like wants defensively, they could look to commerce again within the first spherical to be able to be extra within the wheelhouse for Guice. Washington already has been aggressive offensively this offseason with the Alex Smith and Paul Richardson additions, however an entire again corresponding to Barkley stays an actual void.
5. Lions (No. 20 choose)
Detroit is probably going searching for extra defensive position assist early within the draft, however normal supervisor Bob Quinn additionally made an early offseason declaration that the workforce would lastly repair its working sport. The addition of an growing old LeGarrette Blount in free company does not scream answer. The Lions want Barkley to scrub up the telegraphed, inefficient mess of Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick.
The most important problem for the Lions in drafting Barkley is their place late within the first spherical; they’ve solely six picks within the draft general, with No. 51 up subsequent. It will likely be fascinating to see whether or not Quinn can make a daring transfer to get a transcendent participant who matches their No. 1 want.
four. Buccaneers (No. 7 choose)
The Bucs stated bye to Martin and re-signed Peyton Barber as their default No. 1 again. That places them in play for Barkley, they usually would possibly not should do something however wait their flip to be able to get him with QB-desperate groups forward of them.
Tampa Bay acquired huge receiver Chris Godwin out of Penn State final season, and Barkley’s ability set would enable its offense to take the wanted subsequent step with Jameis Winston, delivering each the steadiness and further explosiveness. Barkley can be a no brainer if he is nonetheless accessible.
The Bucs are also sitting on eight general picks, together with No. 38 within the second spherical, so they may transfer up one or two spots to get him if wanted. The Bucs have large wants associated to their move rush and secondary, however based mostly on worth and one of the best participant who can instantly change their fortunes, Barkley blows away the opposite choices.
Saquon Barkley: Three favorites to draft him
three. Browns (No. 1 and No. four picks)
The Browns acquired busy with their secondary in NFL free company, including T.J. Carrie, Damarious Randall (by way of commerce) and Terrance Mitchell whereas subtracting Jason McCourty. So whereas they’re most likely nonetheless taking a look at Sam Darnold at No. 1 general to groom behind Tyrod Taylor, Alabama defensive again Minkah Fitzpatrick now not appears to be like like one of the best choose at No. four.
Cleveland did signal former Ohio State standout Carlos Hyde away from the 49ers for early downs to interchange Crowell. The workforce can also be engaged on extending dynamic receiving again Duke Johnson Jr.
Hue Jackson loves a deep working sport, and Barkley may be part of Johnson as one other asset for a instantly loaded passing sport with Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry and David Njoku. However Barkley nonetheless would signify a big-time luxurious choose for a workforce making an attempt to reconstruct itself after a winless season. It additionally is just not in new GM John Dorsey’s DNA to take a working again so excessive.
2. Giants (No. 2 choose)
The Giants’ lone free-agency addition of growing old former Panthers energy again Jonathan Stewart signifies they’re nonetheless trying to find an every-down characteristic again, given each Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen have been unsigned. Barkley can be a home-run choose ought to the Giants keep put at No. 2, however the prime QBs throw a spanner within the works.
The Giants may seize their true successor to Eli Manning with the No. 2 choose and disappoint the Jets at No. three. Or, realizing they’ve a coveted choose, the Giants may commerce again to stockpile choices, very like the Browns and 49ers did within the earlier two drafts.
Actually, QB is not as urgent for the Giants, and not like many groups selecting this excessive, they don’t seem to be ravenous at too many positions within the quick time period. Barkley would carry the aspect that might assist push New York again to the playoff standing they loved in 2016 whereas working behind a much-improved line with Nate Solder at left deal with.
1. Broncos (No. 5 choose)
If the Browns take Darnold, and the Giants (or one other workforce at No. 2) choose one Josh and the Jets go for one other Josh, then the Broncos are unlikely to achieve for Mayfield. That is as a result of, for now, with Case Keenum within the fold, working again is a extra obvious offensive weak point with fading C.J. Anderson as the highest choice.
Denver desires to re-establish its toughness and angle with the protection/running-game system that received Tremendous Bowl 50. In addition they would possibly discover the Jaguars, Eagles, Panthers, Saints, Payments, Vikings, Rams, Chiefs and Patriots all made the playoffs in 2017 on the power of top-10 dashing assaults. The Broncos have been on the cusp of that group at No. 12 and had the potential for extra success. Barkley would step proper in and ship a significant improve.
As a lot as Elway desires to repair QB, with Keenum signed, he now not must drive it for the quick time period. Elway additionally is aware of he received two Tremendous Bowls as a participant due to fellow Corridor of Famer Terrell Davis’ domination.
A commerce up the board is feasible, too, with the Broncos sitting on 10 picks general. After free company and trades, a Mile Excessive choose on Barkley makes a ton of sense.