RB is a tough position to evaluate. A great RB can carry a franchise on his back. We saw Adrian Peterson do that at times in Minnesota. Same for Barry Sanders in Detroit. At the same time, neither one of those guys won a Super Bowl.
You can find talented RBs all over the place. The Panthers used a Top 10 pick on Christian McCaffrey, who had a good rookie season. The Chiefs used a 3rd round pick on Kareem Hunt, who had a great rookie season.
Alvin Kamara went to the Saints in the 3rd round. He had an amazing season and should probably be the Rookie of the Year.
The top RB prospect this year is Saquon Barkley from Penn State. He just declared for the draft and should be a Top 10 pick.
Saquon Barkley wrote a letter to Penn State fans as he declared for the NFL draft. pic.twitter.com/02HSUlIKaL
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 1, 2018
Barkley is an amazingly good prospect. He has size, speed, strength and rare athletic ability. He is versatile, making big plays as a runner, receiver and returner. Barkley is a high character player, the kind of guy you want as the face of your franchise. He is a freak, on and off the field.
But he is also a RB.
Do you spend a Top 10 or even Top 5 pick on him?
For the right franchise, yes. You saw the impact Ezekiel Elliott had on Dallas. Barkley could have a similar effect for the right team. Tampa has a star QB. They could use a RB to pair with him. That team could also use a high character player to help transform that locker room.
The Giants could use a stud RB. They haven’t had one in a long time.
The Broncos have a terrific defense. They might benefit from having a great RB to carry the offense.
The Texans and Colts could both use a dynamic presence in the backfield.
Teams can be hesitant to spend early picks on RBs, but if you think of Barkley as Ezekiel Elliott, but without the off field baggage, someone should go for him early. You can also see what Todd Gurley has done this year for the Rams. Barkley and Gurley remind me of each other, with their combination of size, power, speed and receiving skills.
I’ll be shocked if Barkley makes it outside the Top 10.