The Case for Saquon Barkley at 8

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Running back Saquon Barkley
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Running back Saquon Barkley /

With the eighth pick in the draft, would the Chicago Bears select Saquon Barkley if he was available?

The Chicago Bears are in an interesting position with the eighth overall pick. There is a good chance that several of the clear-cut top prospects will be gone, but if there is a run on quarterbacks early, which many are predicting, the Bears could be in a position to get a great player. Could that player be Saquon Barkley? While that’s a long shot, it’s not impossible.

Let’s assume the Cleveland Browns select a QB with the first pick and let’s assume the New York Giants take Bradley Chubb and not a quarterback with the second pick. The New York Jets will be taking a QB at three. The Browns have the fourth pick, but let’s say the Buffalo Bills trade up to select a QB at four. The Denver Broncos have the fifth pick and they will almost certainly be taking a QB as well if the one they want is available. Suddenly there are only two teams standing between the Chicago Bears and Saquon Barkley.

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The Indianapolis Colts would be highly likely to take Barkley, but they know they need to protect Andrew Luck and they also need massive help on defense. They could go Quenton Nelson or get some secondary help with this pick. The Tampa Bay Bucs are at seven and they could also be in a prime spot to take Barkley, but perhaps if Nelson goes six, then Minkah Fitzpatrick could go seven.

Again, the scenario is thin, but if Barkley is there, should the Bears take him? The Bears offensive MVP the last two years has been running back Jordan Howard. Taking another running back to replace a position of strength seems like a foolish move when you still have holes on your roster, but would it really be that foolish?

Many feel Barkley is a generational talent. Barkley could be Reggie Bush, who was productive for a while but certainly didn’t live up to his hype, but at the same time, he could be Marshall Faulk. Barkley has the type of running style that won’t be affected by the new NFL helmet rule, and someone like Howard may have to change their style significantly.

If the choices are taking someone like Barkley or taking someone like Tremaine Edmunds or Denzel Ward, it’s a no-brainer- the choice is Barkley. That would leave you with a glutton of talent at running back, but at that point, it would probably be wise to shop Howard. He could probably return a third-round pick. Howard is young, a workhorse, and still has two years of control on a rookie deal. A team that feels they are ready to win but needs some help at running back would strongly consider moving a third rounder for him.

So while the pick may not make sense in terms of what the Bears need right now, you simply don’t pass up on a talent like Barkley. The Bears are in a position where they should be taking the best player available, regardless of position. That holds especially true with the eighth overall pick. If it’s possible, you take Barkley and figure out the roster later, you don’t select Tremaine Edmunds because you need help at linebacker and pass up on someone as special as Barkley.

Yes, it’s far-fetched. Odds are Barkley goes second to the Giants, or maybe fourth to the Browns, whoever takes him, it will almost certainly be a team before the Bears are picking at eight, but if he’s there, the selection is an obvious one- Barkley should be a Bear.