With Marshawn Lynch set to return in 2018, the Raiders have a proven starting running back that can move the chains. Add in Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, and Doug Martin and it appears the Silver & Black have solid depth at the position.
So, what should Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden do if Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is available when Oakland picks at ten overall? With potentially five quarterbacks going in the top-ten, and the Browns and 49ers both paying Carlos Hyde and Jerick McKinnon significant cash, there is a legitimate chance that Saquon Barkley will be available at the 10th overall pick. Add in the exceptional depth at the position that the draft offers and the odds only increase.
Should the Raiders draft for an immediate need, or would they be better off selecting arguably the best player in the entire draft? The staff at Silver and Black Pride has your answers.
Tyler Green (@TylerGreenSB)
This would be a dream scenario for the Silver and Black as Barkley is the crown-jewel in the 2018 NFL Draft. There is no other player Oakland should select over the First-Team All-American, as he is comparable to Hall of Famers LaDainian Tomlinson and Barry Sanders.
As for a potential need, Marshawn Lynch’s contract is set to expire at the end of the upcoming season. At that point, the Raiders will have a significant hole in their backfield. Why not fill that void now, and give Barkley a chance to split carries and learn from ‘Beastmode’ before he takes over as the lead back in 2019? This should be a no-brainer decision for Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden.
Look, I know the Raiders need defense, you know the Raiders need defense, my aged grandmother knows the Raiders need defense. But screw your needs. Screw your defense. This is the guy. This is the best college running back I’ve seen since Adrian Peterson himself. Better than Todd Gurley. Better than Ezekiel Elliott. This is the guy.
Of course, I find it hard to believe that the Browns will pass on Barkley twice. I don’t care who their quarterback is, they could start a small Cambodian girl at quarterback and they should still pick Barkley first overall. And if they take some overrated Los Angeles college quarterback, they should take Barkley at four. And if they don’t, the Giants would love Barkley, and so would the Colts.
But what if the unthinkable happens? What if quarterbacks and Bradley Chubb go one through five? The Bears have a running back already in Jordan Howard. The Bucs need offensive line help. The Niners wouldn’t take Barkley, would they? What if this draft goes insane as some do, and Barkley is still sitting there at ten?
BD Williams (@BDWilliams18)
Saquon Barkley is the best back in this class, but the value of drafting a RB top 10 is my concern. That coupled with Barkley’s running style where he bends at the waist and ankles so much—I’m concerned he’s opening himself up to injury. We all have heard “best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson...” but they said the same things about Darren McFadden. I grade Barkley slightly below Todd Gurley coming out of Georgia and slightly above Leonard Fournette coming out of LSU. So what I’m saying is there is a “once in a generation” back coming out of college every one or two years it seems.
There are around 10 backs in this class who can be major contributors on Sundays and I think the best value will come in rounds 2-3. We saw 3rd rounders like Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt take the league by storm last season. Also worth noting that Le’veon Bell, LeSean McCoy, and David Johnson were not 1st rounders.
Barkley has shown some flaws when it comes to his vision so he’s not a slam dunk as most people think. If by some miracle Barkley is sitting there at 10 I hope Reggie trades out and accrues serious draft capital by fleecing a team like the Bills.
Ryan Lipton (@Rytime98)
If the best player in the draft is available you have to take him. If taken, Barkley would immediately change the offense in a multitude of ways. He is a home-run threat each team he touches the football whether it is on the ground, through the air or in the return game.
In college, Barkley averaged 3.4 yards per carry after contact and broke 35 tackles on 200 carries in 2017. He is as elite of a prospect at running back as there has been coming out of college. Within recent memory, all those highly touted backs, Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliot, and Leonard Fournette, entering the draft have found immediate success in the NFL.
It doesn’t matter that Oakland has Lynch, Martin, Washington and Richard at the position. Barkley is better than all of them and will make a bigger impact on the field than any other possible prospect at No. 10 despite there being other more pressing needs.
This selection would be a batting percentage pick with likely home-run potential.
Levi Damien (@LeviDamien)
So, the other day I was watching this Sci-Fi movie. And I was getting really annoyed at how they kept defying the basics laws of physics. Then I realized, wait a second, this isn’t a sci-fi movie. This is SaQuon Barkley’s highlight reel. The dude defies all logic and reason on a football field. And makes defenders lose their minds trying to keep up.
It may be something out of a Sci-Fi or perhaps Fantasy movie that Barkley were on the board at tenth overall, but if he is...
Should the Raiders draft Saquon Barkley?
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