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Barkley The Favorite To Go First Overall After Combine

Running back Saquon Barkley running drills at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Saquon Barkley had one of the greatest NFL Combine performances we have ever seen. And this showing – on top of his already stellar play at Penn State – has vaulted the running back to a +180 favorite to be the first overall selection in the upcoming NFL draft.

Barkley ran a 4.40 40-yard dash, posted 29 reps on the bench press and had a 41-inch vertical leap all while weighing in at 233 pounds. That is honestly absurd. And those numbers just added to the argument that Barkley is the best player in this draft class regardless of position.

Even though many will argue the Cleveland Browns need to select a quarterback first overall, the roster is relatively thin on talent and the front office is not in a position to deny a talent like Barkley. Especially when the Browns also own the No. 4 overall pick – which would guarantee that two of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield would still be on the board with Cleveland’s second selection.

But, Shouldn’t The Browns Draft A Quarterback?

Of course, the allure of finally nabbing a franchise signal-caller could be too much for the Browns to ignore. And despite not throwing at the combine, Sam Darnold (+300) has the best odds to be the first pick of the draft out of the collection of quarterbacks. Darnold brings the intangibles that could convince a QB-needy team that he is their future but he undeniably had issues with ball security and decision-making during his final year at USC.

Odds suggest that Josh Allen (+380) is right behind Darnold. Allen showed off his ridiculous arm strength at the combine, throwing bombs of 70-plus yards with relative ease. On top of that, his mechanics are slowly improving under the tutelage of Jordan Palmer. Allen is still green as grass and needs to work on throwing with anticipation but his raw tools can’t be ignored.

Who Will Be Drafted First Overall in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Odds as of March 6 at BetOnline

  • Saquon Barkley (RB) +180
  • Sam Darnold (QB) +300
  • Josh Allen (QB) +380
  • Baker Mayfield (QB) +600
  • Josh Rosen (QB) +800
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick (DB) +2500
  • Bradley Chubb (DE) +3300
  • Field (Any Other Player) +1600

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The Cleveland Browns are on the clock with the first overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. And if odds have anything to say about it, Sam Darnold will be the first pick. The former USC quarterback is listed as a +190 fave to hear his name called first in the draft on April 26.

Of course, the Browns have never had a franchise quarterback since the team’s reincarnation in 1999. In those 19 years, the Browns have started 27 different quarterbacks in an attempt to find absolutely anything.

Darnold has all the tools to finally end the putrid run of QBs in Cleveland. He has the arm strength and touch to get the ball into tight windows while also sporting the size and athleticism to cause issues for opposing pass rushers. That being said, Darnold had plenty of turnovers during his final season at USC and openly admitted to having confidence issues at times.

If the Browns do decide to draft a quarterback first overall, there is also Josh Rosen (+250) and Josh Allen (+300).

Rosen certainly seems like the most NFL-ready passer in the draft, as his mechanics and spiral are the best we have seen coming out of the college ranks in years. In addition, he has played under center at UCLA, something that should appeal to Browns coach Hue Jackson. However, some people question if Rosen has the leadership skills to truly command a team and even get along with teammates.

Allen is by far the rawest of the top-tier quarterback prospects. The Wyoming standout has a massive frame and an absolute cannon for an arm. However, he needs to work on his decision-making and there are questions about his competition level.

If the Browns decide to go with the best player in the draft, then Saquon Barkley (+300) is the choice. The running back out of Penn State has the best skill set we have seen of any back entering the NFL in years – and that is not hyperbole. Barkley’s ability to run, catch and block makes him the closest thing to a can’t-miss prospect that we’ve seen in some time. And if Cleveland opts to draft Barkley at one, the Browns can grab their future quarterback at four.

Who Will Be Drafted First Overall in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Odds as of February 20 at BetOnline

  • Sam Darnold (QB) +190
  • Josh Rosen (QB) +250
  • Josh Allen (QB) +300
  • Saquon Barkley (RB) +300
  • Baker Mayfield (QB) +500
  • Bradley Chubb (DE) +3300
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick (DB) +3300
  • Field (Any Other Player) +1400