Mel Kiper sees scenario where Browns take Saquon Barkley first, QB fourth

Kiper expects Barkley goes No. 2 in latest mock (1:19)

Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. agree that Saquon Barley is one of the most impactful running backs and believe he would be a smart pick for the Giants. (1:19)

Running back Saquon Barkley first overall to the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Draft?

Mel Kiper thought about doing just that with his second mock draft, which was released Wednesday. But he went against it because sticking with quarterback Josh Allen as the first overall pick provided a cleaner mock draft.

But Kiper readily admitted that Barkley could be the first overall pick, with the Browns taking a quarterback fourth.

“It depends on how they stack the board on the quarterbacks,” Kiper said Wednesday on a conference call with the media.

Kiper’s reasoning: If the Browns have close grades on two or three quarterbacks, they could easily take Barkley first. Kiper already has gone on record saying Barkley is the best player in the draft.

“He’s got great lower body strength,” Kiper said. “Powerful kid in the lower body. That’s why he breaks tackles. He can stop on a dime and make people miss. (He) catches the ball out of the backfield.”

Which lends him to the first overall pick, except for one fact: he plays running back. The position has become devalued in the NFL.

However, if the Browns want a back to pair with Duke Johnson, they’d have a hard time finding anyone better than Barkley.

If Barkley were the pick, the Browns would then be assured of getting either Sam Darnold, Josh Allen or Josh Rosen with the fourth pick.

If they are ranked closely, it wouldn’t matter.

“None of them are perfect,” Kiper said. “They all have some red flags.”

    In other draft notes, Kiper added:

  • Allen could make it “very difficult” to pass on him with a strong workout at the combine next week. “He could be a guy that benefits tremendously,” Kiper said, calling Allen the player with the best combined traits of anybody.

  • Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick cannot be overlooked. Fitzpatrick can play any of the secondary positions, including cornerback or slot corner. “He’s a corner if you need him to be,” Kiper said. “He’s a safety if you need him there.” Fitzpatrick is one of the three options with Barkley and a quarterback for the Browns' first two picks.