Saquon Barkley's goal is to become the face of the NFL, regardless of which team he plays for. While his agents are on-board for that plan, they reportedly don't want it playing out in Cleveland. According to a profile piece by Sports Illustrated's Ben Baskin, Saquon Barkley's agents reportedly don't want the Browns to draft him.
The star running back out of Penn State is repped by Roc Nation, Jay-Z's full-service agency based in Manhattan, which boasts of a 15-man team surrounding Barkley to help build his brand. They'd prefer if he was selected by the Jets or the Giants.
According to Baskin, Barkley's agents have gone as far as advising Barkley to refuse to play in Cleveland, but Barkley "never considered" that route as an option.
While he'd like to play for his home city of New York, the back is reportedly willing to play anywhere, including Cleveland.
More from SI.com on the report about Saquon Barkley's agents:
"His Roc Nation handlers, however, don't want him to be taken No. 1. They don't want him in Cleveland. They want him to go second to the Giants and play in the media capital of the world. That's where you can become the Face of the League. His manager even implored him to pull an Eli Manning and demand that the Browns not draft him. Barkley never considered the option. Sure, he likes the idea of being back in the city of his birth--even playing for the Jets, the team he grew up rooting for. And of course he's heard countless people tell him that if he ends up in Cleveland, his career will be ruined.''
Meanwhile, according to Cleveland.com, one of Saquon Barkley's agents quickly released a statement shutting down the SI report claiming her team would be "thrilled" for Saquon, regardless of where he lands.
While it's highly doubtful that the Browns will take Barkley with the top pick, if the Giants and Jets decide to select quarterbacks at No. 2 and No. 3 respectively, Barkley could be available for Cleveland. The Browns also own the No. 4 pick.
In SI's latest mock, Albert Breer has the Giants taking Barkley with the No. 2 pick, but adds that it's hard to be confident about that prediction given that multiple quarterbacks will be available, including possibly USC's Sam Darnold.
While all three franchises are in need of their next franchise quarterback, they could decide to go after what is believed to be a generational talent, regardless of position.
The Browns' stable of backs currently consists of Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson Jr. and Matthew Dayes. After Barkley's monster showing at the Combine, for a time he looked like the favorite to be selected with the top pick. Now, it looks like the Browns will go with a quarterback, but Barkley is still a good bet to be picked very high.