1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State
6-0, 233: The hype has taken on a life of his own.
Because he’s so big, and so fast, and so explosive, and so strong, and so good a personality with no character issues whatsoever, he’s almost too good to be true.
And then you look at his college resume.
It’s been a common refrain that he’s another Ezekiel Elliott without being all Ezekiel Elliottey, but that’s not fair to the former Buckeye star.
Elliott was a 100-yard machine, hitting the mark in 17 of his last 18 games and in 21 of his final 24 with 39 rushing touchdowns over that span.
Barkley? He ran for 100 yards in five games last season and five times in 2016, disappearing way, way, way too often.
To be fair, the Penn State offensive line was inconsistent, but Barkley’s lack of consistency is still glaring enough to keep him from being the rock-solid lock most will say he is.
Yeah, he’s as good and fun a runner as any in college football over the last several seasons, but he’s not going to bring the NFL power, he’ll strike out way too often swinging for the home run, and he’s just an okay blocker.
Even with all of the concerns, and even if you can’t get it out of your head that Trent Richardson was talked about as the exact same type of franchise-changing sure thing, of course you take him.
Yeah, you can talk yourself into thinking there are problems and concerns, but woe to you if you’re wrong.
From Elliott, to Leonard Fournette, to Todd Gurley, the early running back picks are paying off again. Barkley appears to be the next superstar up.
Projected Round: Top Three Overall
Real Value: Top Five Overall