Penn State's Franklin endorses Barkley for No. 1 pick
The NFL draft is less than two weeks away and there has yet to be a consensus on the top overall pick. If it were up to Penn State's James Franklin, his protege Saquon Barkley would be the first player to take the stage April 26.
Barkley completed an electrifying junior season at Penn State, winning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season and drew comparisons to Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott throughout the year.
Franklin believes that in lieu of an obvious choice at quarterback, Barkley is worthy of the top selection. Barring any trades, the Cleveland Browns will hold the first overall pick.
"Not only is (Barkley) an impact guy from Day 1, but he’s a guy that I think can be a part of really getting that organization where everybody wants it to be, and you guys are close," Franklin said to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. "I think everybody would agree with that. So you get a few players like this, and then all the sudden the tide turns, and my man John Dorsey’s a genius, and he deserves that. And same thing with (coach) Hue (Jackson). There's nothing I'd like to see better than to see John and Hue get that thing rolling. As we all know, there's a few players that can change college programs and there's a few players that can change NFL organizations for 10 years, and I think he's got a chance to be one of those guys."
Barkley set several school records while at Penn State and could become the first running back to go first overall since the Cincinnati Bengals selected Ki-Jana Carter, also out of Penn State, with the top pick in 1995. In two consecutive seasons, a running back has been taken fourth overall, with Elliott going to the Cowboys in 2016, and Leonard Fournette heading to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017.
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