Saquon Barkley is not going to have to wait long to hear his name called in the 2018 NFL Draft. The former Penn State star might be the second player to walk across the stage, according to ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.
Barkley is the No. 2 overall pick in Kiper’s mock draft 2.0, which was published Wednesday. Kiper has the New York Giants selecting Barkley to pair him in the backfield alongside quarterback Eli Manning.
Barkley is the projected No. 4 pick in Land of 10’s latest mock draft.
In Kiper’s projection, he was behind only Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, who went first to the Cleveland Browns. Here is Kiper’s full mock draft.
Saquon Barkley goes No. 2 in Mel Kiper’s updated mock draft
Mock Draft 2.0: Sticking with Josh Allen to Cleveland at No. 1, and Baker Mayfield makes a move up. https://t.co/3rIWDMFIWM
— Mel Kiper Jr. (@MelKiperESPN) February 21, 2018
Kiper and fellow ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay spoke about why teams would take a running back so high in the draft. They pointed to the recent success of Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette, both top-5 picks.
“The people I talked to in the league, they were echoing the success of those running backs,” Kiper said. “Now [the thinking is] we’re not going to wait for these guys. We’re going to go get him, especially backs who are versatile and can catch the ball.
“Saquon Barkley is a complete runner, receiver, blocker.”
Barkley is considered by many analysts to be the best all-around player in the 2018 draft class. He’ll showcase his athleticism at the NFL combine in March.