Jim Brown Hopes Cleveland Takes Saquon Barkley No. 1 Overall

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2018

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 25: Hall of Fame runinng back Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns sits on the bench prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins on September 25, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown hopes his old team takes someone who plays his position with the first pick in Thursday's NFL draft.

"I think Mr. Barkley would be a wonderful addition to the Cleveland Browns," Brown said of Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, per TMZ Sports. "I would hope that they pick him number one."

The TMZ story noted Brown will announce Cleveland's second-round pick in the upcoming draft.

That Brown is bullish on the running back prospect is notable considering he didn't feel that way in 2012 before Cleveland selected Alabama's Trent Richardson with the No. 3 overall pick.

"The problem is that he's ordinary. I think he's ordinary," Brown said of Richardson on ESPN Radio's The Scott Van Pelt Show, via Dan Hanzus of NFL.com.

The Browns ultimately traded Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in a move Brown called "brilliant" because Richardson "couldn't have carried the kind of load that Cleveland needed," per John Breech of CBS Sports.

Richardson was ordinary during his NFL career, averaging 3.3 yards per carry for the Browns and Colts and never reaching 1,000 yards on the ground in a single season. If Brown is again right about a running back prospect in his evaluation of Barkley, Cleveland may have the chance to add a franchise cornerstone Thursday.

However, it could have the opportunity to do just that without using the No. 1 overall pick considering it has the No. 4 pick as well. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller had the Browns using the No. 1 pick on USC quarterback Sam Darnold and then selecting Barkley with that fourth pick, which is a scenario that would allow the team to add two difference-makers to the offense after going 0-16 last year.

Barkley is the type of back who can stay on the field all three downs, as he proved with 1,271 rushing yards, 632 receiving yards and 24 total touchdowns in his final season at Penn State. He earned Brown's endorsement, but it will be up to Cleveland's front office to select him Thursday.

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