Cleveland Browns: Making the case for Kalen Ballage
By Randy Gurzi
The Cleveland Browns have a need at running back, but don’t need a day one pick. Instead, they could target someone like ASU’s Kalen Ballage.
With six picks in the top-65 selections, the Cleveland Browns will be talked about often during the 2018 NFL Draft. That talk has already began, as they own the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks.
Most draft pundits are resigned to the Browns taking a quarterback first overall — although no one knows exactly which signal caller that will be. At No. 4, there’s a ton of ways they could go depending on how the draft falls, with many wanting the team to land Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
The most exciting back in the draft however may not be available there with the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts sandwiched between the Browns picks and also needing to fill the position. This has led some to wonder if Barkley should go No. 1 overall.
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That however, shouldn’t be an option. While Barkley is clearly the best running back, there are other options and so he shouldn’t be over-drafted. One potential player who could split time with receiving back Duke Johnson and improve the Browns offense is Kalen Ballage out of ASU.
Ballage isn’t a household name, but he made strides with great work at the Senior Bowl. He could also climb high should he have a big combine, which is highly possible for the athletically gifted kid.
He weighed in at 6-foot-1 and a half and 228-pounds and Ballage is a hard man to bring down, evidenced by the following clip from the Pac-12 Network.
Ballage isn’t just a bulldozer though. He also runs clean routes and that’s what caught the eyes of scouts during drills at the Senior Bowl.
His limited production will be the major hit as he never had more than 157 carries in a season for the Sun Devils. For Cleveland, that could be a good thing. Ballage is a complete back, that could still be there past Round 2, and has minimal wear on him.
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Targeting someone like him also allows the Browns to fill many more holes with their top picks, while still finding a player that can upgrade their current stable of running backs.