Tony Z: A running back in the top 4? I'll pass - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Tony Z: A running back in the top 4? I'll pass

Should the Cleveland Browns draft Saquon Barkley? (Source AP Images) Should the Cleveland Browns draft Saquon Barkley? (Source AP Images)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Barring a trade, the Cleveland Browns will pick twice in the top 4 in the NFL Draft in a few weeks, and if they go quarterback at No. 1, history shows it almost always works out.

May not lead to a Super Bowl, but odds are you'll find your franchise guy.

Running backs? Different story. 

The best running back in this year's draft is unanimously believed to be Saquon Barkley.

In fact, some think the former Penn State Nittany Lion is the best player in this draft.

After totaling more than 1900 yards in his junior year at Penn State, he headed to Indy and showed us why, crushing it in the weight room and on the track at the NFL Combine. 

But can even the best back change the direction of a franchise?

In today's pass-happy NFL, how many Super Bowl winners have even relied on a franchise back?

The Seahawks come to mind, although Marshawn Lynch only ran for 39 yards in their blowout win over the Broncos in SB 48.

But the list of great backs who never won a ring is much longer, with Barry Sanders and Adrian Peterson right at the top.

Not that Barkley can't or won't significantly help a team.

He's explosive, and while the knock on him is that most of his 1,271 yards rushing came in fewer than half of his games (5), he's also a threat catching the ball, racking up another 632 in the air.

Kind of reminds me of another great college back, which brings me to this:

Was Saquon a better college back than Reggie Bush?

Bush had the same level of hype coming out of USC in 2005, after rushing for 1,740 yards in his final season, and adding another 478 receiving. And while Bush did win a ring, as a platoon back with the Saints, his NFL career has never approached the level of success everyone expected.

Darren McFadden (fourth overall), Trent Richardson (third overall), Ronnie Brown (second overall), Cadillac Williams (fifth overall). All disappointments. 

Doesn't mean that'll happen with Barkley.

He certainly seems special. And some team (the Bills?) is just dying to move up to get him. 

But if I'm the Browns, I'm going with a game-changer like defensive end Bradley Chubb at  No. 4.

And finding my future running back later.

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