NFL Combine Stock Up, Offense: Saquon Barkley, Justin Jackson, Baker Mayfield

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Another edition of the NFL Scouting Combine (“the underwear Olympics”) has come and gone. If you watched it at home on television, just for “fun,” recreationally, well you’re a braver person than I and highly commend your love of the game. For everyone else, let’s recap the week, and look at who the biggest winners and losers were after what transpired.

Here’s the link to our latest NFL mock draft, which we posted right before the scouting combine started. Now with so many players seeing their NFL Draft fluctuate, in some cases quite extremely, we’ll be making a lot of changes in our next update.

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RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

The running back position is back en vogue, in full force, showing us once again that rumors of its demise were greatly exaggerated. Remember just a few years ago when no one wanted to take a back in the first round? Ancient history, as a series of transcendent prospects at the position have since emerged. Leonard Fournette was one of those superior backs, and Saquon Barkley is up next.

He’s a different kind of back than Fournette, but he has an outside chance of becoming the first running back to go No. 1 overall since another Penn State Nittany Lion, Ki-Jana Carter, in 1995. Saquon Barkley probably won’t go No. 1 overall to the Browns, but you couldn’t fault Cleveland if they did pull the trigger on taking him. Barkley 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.

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RB Justin Jackson, Northwestern

Staying with a B1G back, “bread and butter,” or “the ball carrier” had a fantastic combine. His 3-cone time terrific, and he also posted a vertical of 38.5 and a broad jump of 10-2.

QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

The reigning Heisman trophy winner killed it in the passing drills, but we also knew that was going to happen. The main concerns for Mayfield related to character, as he’s an individual who actually expresses strong opinions in public and showcases his colorful personality. The NFL, typically wants to no part of anybody like that, and instead prefers vanilla corporate types.

As we all know, corporate culture=absence of any culture, but Mayfield reportedly aced the interviews so he successfully alleviated this concern. He might crack the top 15 or top 10 overall now.

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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