Saquon Barkley, Sam Darnold Battling to be Top Overall NFL Draft Pick

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Saquon Barkley had a monster scouting combine, and that elite “underwear olympics” performance, combined with his stellar body of work on the field, has made the Penn State running back, the current favorite to be selected #1 overall in the NFL Draft next month.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a back taken first overall, and coincidentally it was a Nittany Lion- KiJana Carter taken first by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1995.

The NFL has gotten away from taking tailbacks at the very top of the draft, instead focusing on passers, pass-rushers, and pass defending specialists. Yes, the cliche is certainly true- “it’s a pass first league.” If it’s not Barkley who goes first, it could be USC quarterback Sam Darnold, who had been the favorite to go #1 most of the season.
We had an exclusive chat with ESPN College Football Analyst Adnan Virk, and he spotlighted some of the reasons why Darnold could go first overall.

sam darnold

With the NFL draft upcoming, there’s no consensus #1 pick and nobody’s sure how the first five or even ten picks are going to pan out. However this resource for betting helps users who fancy their chances on such trade picks, which is why it’s important when it comes to picking the right sportsbook by knowing what’s on offer.

The Cleveland Browns pick first and fourth, and still want a quarterback, even after acquiring Tyrod Taylor. But it’s difficult to separate between the four quarterbacks at the top of the draft board, which is why you’ll see running back Saquon Barkley at the top of the odds sheet. While the quarterbacks combine for an overwhelming probability that one of their number will be the top pick, Barkley is the safest pick and the sure choice if Cleveland wants a workhorse running back.

Saquon Barkley: 7/3
Sam Darnold: 3/1
Josh Allen: 4/1
Baker Mayfield: 11/2
Josh Rosen: 7/1
Field: 20/1

Saquon Barkley shot up the charts after what he did in Indianapolis. He put up 29 bench press reps, second to only DL Kylie Fitts of Utah among combine attendees under 270 pounds. Barkley, who also ran a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and had a 41-inch vertical, is 43 pounds lighter than Fitts.

saquon-barkley penn state football

As for Darnold, he was the slam dunk choice to go first overall, until some of the struggles he had this season showed weaknesses that scouts hadn’t seen before. The Trojans signal caller threw too many interceptions to see his draft stock hold steady or increase. Allen didn’t have the greatest combine, and his body of work came against mostly weaker competition in college and thus he’s a bit of a dark horse.

The main concerns for Mayfield related to character, as he’s an individual who often expresses strong opinions in public and showcases his colorful personality. The NFL typically wants to avoid people like that, and instead prefers vanilla corporate types.

However, Mayfield reportedly nailed his interviews at the combine and thus alleviated that concern.Rosen may be dealing with a similar issue, as many of his public remarks have ignited controversy. The UCLA signal caller is the long shot of the group to go first overall.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

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