Miami Dolphins

Dare to dream: Saquon Barkley in a Dolphins uniform. Stranger things have happened

This is the seventh of a 10-part series breaking down players in play for the Dolphins with the 11th overall pick.

Part 1: Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Part 2: Vita Vea.

Part 3: Josh Rosen.

Part 4: Roquan Smith.

Part 5: Derwin James.

Part 6: Tremaine Edmunds.

The Dolphins will have no chance at drafting Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, so why even entertain it?

Because there’s no way that a possible No. 1 pick slides all the way out of the top 10.

It never happens.

Oh wait.

It has. Just two years ago. And the Dolphins were the beneficiaries.

So let’s cool it with the “never” talk.

Every year, there are a handful of complete stunners in the NFL Draft.

It’s what makes for such compelling TV.

Wild trades. Players taken way too high. Blue-chip prospects that slip down the board. Awkward solitude in the green room.

Something crazy will happen when the draft finally arrives two weeks from Thursday. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

And who will benefit.

The Dolphins did two years ago, when a leaked video of Laremy Tunsil smoking through a gas-mask bong might have cost him 10 spots and millions of dollars.

Is Barkley set for a similar fall (for completely different reasons)? And might the Dolphins, who pick two spots higher than they did when Tunsil slipped, be in line to capitalize?

Nobody thinks this will happen. But the NFL is about contingencies, and you better believe that all possibilities, including this one, have been discussed, even briefly, inside team HQ.

Barkley, perhaps the best pure running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, would immediately change the entire complexion of the Dolphins’ offense.

He might be the team’s best offensive player the second he reports to camp.

Here’s why:

He is the perfect mix of talent, smarts, work ethic and raw ability.

If the NFL valued running backs as much as it values quarterbacks, he would be the no-brainer No. 1 pick in the draft.

But teams do not put that kind of premium on ball-carriers, and so Barkley might slide. If he slides far enough, the Dolphins will have a decision on their hands: Take a bonafide star or a position of need.

“I’m competitive. But I don’t care if I’m drafted 1, 5 or 72 or the last pick,” Barkley said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I’m going to come in with my head low ready to work. That’s not going to change me. No matter where I’m drafted or who I’m drafted by, they’re going to get the same person. They’re going to get the guy who’s going to be a competitor, who’s passionate about the game.”

Measurables

Height: 6 feet (69th percentile among halfbacks).

Weight: 233 pounds (92nd percentile).

Wingspan: 74 1/4 inches (37th percentile).

Arm length: 31 3/8 inches (60th percentile).

Hand size: 9 1/2 inches (68th percentile).

40-yard dash: 4.4 seconds (93rd percentile).

Vertical jump: 41 inches (96th percentile).

20-yard shuttle: 4.24 seconds (48th percentile).

Bench press: 29 reps (97th percentile).

Comparisons (according to MockDraftTable.com): Cedric Peerman (Virginia, 2009), Tatum Bell (Oklahoma State, 2004), Andre Brown (N.C. State, 2009).

He said it

“I’m very confident. Whether the ball’s on the 1-yard line or the 99-yard line, I like to think I can find a way to get into the end zone. I can do it all. I can go over the top of you. I can beat you with speed. I can beat you with some wiggle. I can run through you.” — Saquon Barkley

They said it

“That Saquon Barkley, arguably, is the best player in the draft. I think he’s a top-5 pick.” — Mike Mayock

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