The 2018 NFL Draft is almost here and there are quite a few intriguing players to keep an eye on. One of those players is Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, who has seen his name move up and down draft boards and mock drafts throughout the course of the 2018 NFL Draft process.
Barkley has seen his name projected as high as No. 1 to the Cleveland Browns and as low as the mid-teens. While there are some that see him sliding, most view him as a lock to be a top-10 pick. Quite a few teams could use some running back help, but those same teams in the first 10 picks also have other holes that could be filled with another prospect.
According to Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus, Barkley will end up being drafted by the Oakland Raiders with the No. 10 overall pick in the draft.
If Barkley does fall to No. 10 overall, the Raiders would be wise to pick him up. They are currently in need of help in the backfield, especially with the aging Marshawn Lynch unable to bring much production last season. Barkley would immediately push for the starting job and would be a long-term fix to the ground game.
Oakland was expected to be one of the top Super Bowl contenders in the AFC last season. But Jack Del Rio and company finished the season 6-10 and missed the playoffs. Derek Carr looked much worse than expected and the Raiders offense as a whole simply didn’t have many positives.
During the 2017 college football season for the Nittany Lions, Barkley put together an excellent Heisman campaign. He didn’t end up winning the award, but he did carry the football 217 times for 1,271 yards and 18 touchdowns. Barkley also caught 54 passes for 632 yards and three touchdowns on the season.
At this point in time, it doesn’t seem terribly likely that Barkley will fall to No. 10 in the draft. He has had a lot of buzz surrounding him at No. 2 to the New York Giants and No. 4 to the Cleveland Browns. Other teams that could show interest ahead of No. 10 are the Indianapolis Colts at No. 6, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 7, and San Francisco 49ers at No. 9.
Jon Gruden and the Raiders have quite a few holes to fill this offseason. There is no denying the potential that the team possesses, but they need to bring in a few more pieces in the draft in order to reach that potential.
Barkley may not end up being there for the Raiders at No. 10, but if he is, he could be exactly what the offense needs to get back to where they want to be.