When asked Thursday whether he'd be all right with joining the beleaguered Cleveland Browns, Barkley told reporters, "That'd be awesome. Something bigger than you."
The physical marvel continued, "If you go to a team like that, obviously, they've had some rough years, but I think they're just a couple of pieces away. They do have a lot of young talent. They've brought in a new offensive coordinator. They only won one game, but they were in a lot of games."
If Cleveland chooses to stay put where it is in the first round, the Browns will have two opportunities to select Barkley, first overall and fourth; Cleveland hinted at an eagerness to trade out of the first spot. But with two RB-needy teams sandwiched in between their picks, the Browns' best chance to draft a sure thing in the backfield comes at the head of the draft.
Talk of drafting Barkley first overall doesn't come without drudging up some bad history. No running back has been taken at No. 1 since the Cincinnati Bengals selected Ki-Jana Carter in 1995; that's before Barkley was even born. Hampered by injuries, Carter, also a Penn State product, lasted barely five seasons in the league.
The Browns also have a sketchy record drafting running backs in the first round. (Cough, Trent Richardson, cough.)
Cleveland obviously has a ton of needs to address with their top two picks, none greater than quarterback, but the Browns are open to all available top talent, including Barkley.
"I think this is a really good draft for running backs," Browns general manager John Dorsey said Thursday. "I think there's some very talented running backs in this thing and that's not to say whoever the first running back is taken can't be a franchise difference-maker."