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Running back Saquon Barkley first overall to the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Draft?

Mel Kiper thought about doing just that with his second mock draft, which was released Wednesday. But he went against it because sticking with quarterback Josh Allen as the first overall pick provided a cleaner mock draft.

But Kiper readily admitted that Barkley could be the first overall pick, with the Browns taking a quarterback fourth.

“It depends on how they stack the board on the quarterbacks,” Kiper said Wednesday on a conference call with the media.
Saquon Barkley will be the first running back off the board, but will he go No. 1 overall to the Browns? Mike Carter/USA TODAY Sports
Kiper’s reasoning: If the Browns have close grades on two or three quarterbacks, they could easily take Barkley first. Kiper already has gone on record saying Barkley is the best player in the draft.

“He’s got great lower body strength,” Kiper said. “Powerful kid in the lower body. That’s why he breaks tackles. He can stop on a dime and make people miss. (He) catches the ball out of the backfield.”

Which lends him to the first overall pick, except for one fact: he plays running back. The position has become devalued in the NFL.

When: April 26-28
Where: Arlington, Texas
NFL draft home page » | Draft order »

•Insider Mel Kiper’s Mock Draft 2.0 »
•Insider Todd McShay’s Mock Draft 2.0 »
• Which NFL teams could draft a QB? »
• Kiper’s Big Board » | McShay’s Top 32 »
• 2018 draft QB class primer »
• Underclassmen who have declared »
However, if the Browns want a back to pair with Duke Johnson, they’d have a hard time finding anyone better than Barkley.

If Barkley were the pick, the Browns would then be assured of getting either Sam Darnold, Josh Allen or Josh Rosen with the fourth pick.

If they are ranked closely, it wouldn’t matter.

“None of them are perfect,” Kiper said. “They all have some red flags.”

In other draft notes, Kiper added:
Allen could make it “very difficult” to pass on him with a strong workout at the combine next week. “He could be a guy that benefits tremendously,” Kiper said, calling Allen the player with the best combined traits of anybody.

Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick cannot be overlooked. Fitzpatrick can play any of the secondary positions, including cornerback or slot corner. “He’s a corner if you need him to be,” Kiper said. “He’s a safety if you need him there.” Fitzpatrick is one of the three options with Barkley and a quarterback for the Browns’ first two picks.