The last time a running back went No. 1 overall, it was Penn State's Ki-Jana Carter in 1995. Twenty-three years later, Saquon Barkley may make history happen again.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the Cleveland Browns are considering Barkley with the No. 1 overall selection following his stellar combine performance.
The Browns also have the fourth pick in next month's draft, but it would be a major surprise to see the Penn State product make it that far. Barkley stole the show at the early part of the combine in Indianapolis, putting up numbers that rank him among the most impressive athletes in recent memory. Listed at 6'0" and 233 pounds, Barkley ran a 4.40-second 40-yard dash, did 29 reps in the bench press and had a 41-inch vertical leap—all of which were among the best running back results.
Barkley said it would be "awesome" if the Browns drafted him and said it would be a "blessing" no matter where he went.
"If you go to a team like that, obviously, they've had some rough years," Barkley told reporters. "But I think they're just a couple of pieces away. They do have a lot of young talent. They've brought in a new offensive coordinator. They only won one game, but they were in a lot of games."
Seven running backs have gone No. 1 overall since the AFL-NFL merger, and their history of success is mixed. Carter's career was derailed by injuries and ineffectiveness, and he ranks as one of the worst top picks in NFL history. Bo Jackson, the previous running back before Carter taken No. 1, had some spectacular moments but had his career shortened by injuries.
O.J. Simpson is the only running back since the merger taken with the top pick to last 10-plus seasons in the NFL; he and Earl Campbell are the only ones with at least five Pro Bowls.