Fletcher: Browns Should Take Barkley, Not A QB, No. 1

"When you’ve won one game in the last two years, you have multiple needs," Fletcher said. "Barkley makes your team better right away."

The DA Show
April 25, 2018 - 12:07 pm

USA Today Images


Whether it’s Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, or perhaps even Baker Mayfield, the Cleveland Browns, many analysts assume, will draft a quarterback No. 1 overall in Thursday’s NFL Draft.

London Fletcher, however, would not.

“For me, if I was drafting for the Browns at 1, I would take Saquon Barkley,” the former Pro Bowl Linebacker said on The DA Show. “He is the best player in this draft. Obviously if you look at Cleveland’s situation, they need a quarterback because they’ve screwed up so much over the years that they have to go quarterback. But all things equal, Saquon Barkley is the best player in this draft. He is the one guy you look at and say, ‘This guy has Hall of Fame potential.’ The rest of the guys, you don’t look at and say that. If you’re the Giants at 2, you are ecstatic that the Browns didn’t take him. Barkley, because of his skill set – his rare combination of size, speed, all the intangibles that he has – he is worth taking high in this draft.”

DA was stunned. Don’t you have to go quarterback at No. 1 if you’re the Browns?

Not this year, Fletcher says.

“The reason why I would be okay with them taking a running back No. 1 overall is because when you look at the top three or four quarterbacks, you could make a case for all of them to be the first overall pick,” he said. “Since you can make that case for three or four guys to be the No. 1 overall pick, you can get one of those guys at 4 and still be okay.”

There’s also this: The Browns are 1-31 over the last two seasons. They need more than a quarterback, and they need to get the No. 1 pick right.

“The Browns have won one game in the last two years,” Fletcher said. “They got to get a lot of positions right. This is not a draft where there’s a Peyton Manning coming out or Andrew Luck. These quarterbacks aren’t in that class. This quarterback class doesn’t have one of those guys like that. Saquon Barkley is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the guys. Now the Browns aren’t going to draft him, but when you didn’t win a ball game last year and you’ve won one game in the last two years, you have multiple, multiple needs. Saquon Barkely, you can draft him, plug him into your offense and he makes your team exponentially better right away.”

If Fletcher were forced to take a QB No. 1, it wouldn’t be Darnold. Or Allen. Or Mayfield.

It’d be Josh Rosen.

“I like Josh Rosen,” Fletcher said. “I know he has a personality (that) not every team is going to mesh with. He’s very opinionated. If you just watch the film of Josh Rosen, his accuracy, his footwork, his mechanics, he throws the best ball. You know Josh Allen is a potential starter in the league. With Tyrod Taylor being there for the Browns, he doesn’t have to start right away. You can bring him to your team, coach him up, and let him sit for a year. Sam Darnold would be there, too. Those guys, there’s not a tremendous amount of separation between all three of those guys, so if you can get Saquon at 1, you can get one of those other three quarterbacks at 4.

“But Josh Rosen is the most talented quarterback in this draft,” Fletcher said. “It’s the personality stuff that makes teams pause. But if you’re okay and comfortable with his personality, you’re going to get a quality quarterback. He just looks like the best thrower of the football.”