While it may not be obvious when he’s in a helmet and shoulder pads, Saquon Barkley is human. He sees all the mock drafts.
Some pundits have the Penn State running back going to the New York Giants at No. 2 overall. Others believe he’ll land in Cleveland with either the top selection or a few spots later. But these days, there are more mock drafts floating around the Internet than touchdowns Barkley scored with the Nittany Lions, and that’s saying something.
To keep his head above water and concentrated on the road ahead, the humble star isn’t investing too much into what the likes of Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay say.
“You have to control what you can control,” Barkley told reporters on Thursday afternoon at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, leaning on an oft-repeated phrase in Happy Valley. “I can’t control what the Browns do. I can’t control what the Jets, Giants, Colts and so on and so on do.
“I do see stuff like that; it’s human nature in today’s age being active on social media. But you can’t focus on it.”
Nevertheless, Barkley was asked about possible landing spots by a horde of media members. He was peppered about the future, one that won’t be clear until April 26 — the first night of the NFL draft.
Barkley’s response? “I can’t see the future.”
“Any team that wants to draft me and is blessing me with the opportunity to play for their franchise is a blessing to me,” the consensus first-team All-American said. “You grow up as a little kid dreaming of playing in the NFL. And you have the opportunity. A team is going to pick you. So if it’s the Browns, the Giants, wherever I get drafted, I’m going to come in with my head low ready to work.”
Barkley did entertain a pointed question about the Cleveland Browns and the possibility of him being a pillar in the franchise’s rebuild.
The back related it to his experience at Penn State, being a part of “something bigger than you.”
“They’ve had some rough years, but I think they’re a couple pieces away,” Barkley said of the Browns, who have lost 49 of their last 53 games. “They have some young talent. They’re bringing in a new offensive coordinator. They are a good team. If you look at the schedule, they won one game (in the last two seasons), but they were in a lot of games.
“You want to be a part of something like that. ...That’s something you can leave a legacy being a part of something special.”