After months of speculation, the New York Giants selected Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in the 2018. Dave Gettleman said in his pre-draft conference, that Barkley was one of those players his mother could have scouted. While the Giants passed on a quarterback, Barkley was the best player in this year’s class and fills a massive need the previous regime failed to address.
Grading Saquon Barkley
So Many Weapons
Although Eli Manning is 37 years old, there is no shortage of weapons around him. With the addition of Barkley, the Giants are now both dynamic in the running and passing games. Odell Beckham Jr is one of the best receivers in the NFL and is progressing very well from his ankle injury. He is a man on a mission that wants to come back and show the rest of the NFL that last season’s injury is no longer affecting him.
Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram are two very talented young players, who both showed signs of excellence in Beckham’s absence last season. Barkley will be a complement to these outstanding weapons in Pat Shurmur’s offense that enjoyed such great success in Minnesota.
With all of those talented weapons on the outside, stopping the passing game will be the number one priority for opposing defensive coordinators. He should be able to capitalize on opposing defenses honing in on the passing game. While Barkley is not a downhill power back, he is a nightmare to tackle in the open field and can be a great receiver out of the backfield. The Giants have begun to rebuild their offensive line and will look to continue to do so throughout the rest of the draft.
Beckham and the rest of the Giants offense were certainly happy with Barkley’s selection.
There are not many running backs that generated as much hype as Barkley did coming out of college. Many scouts called him the best running back prospect they had seen since Adrian Peterson or Ladainian Tomlinson. Barkley’s mix of outstanding athletic ability and explosive speed is rare to find in a running back. In addition, in the open field he is nearly impossible to bring down with his great speed and high leaping ability. While he will most likely not return kicks in the NFL, this vision is another quality that will make him a great NFL running back.
Prior to this draft Peyton Manning had the highest grade of any prospect Gettleman ever scouted, until Barkley arrived warranting a similar grade. Watching Barkley play, that assessment makes sense. There is not much he cannot do. In addition to his outstanding abilities on the field, Barkley is a great person off the field with zero character concerns, unlike a top running back prospect, Ezekiel Elliott, from a couple of years ago. They received a lot of similar comparisons in this year’s draft process, however many scouts put Barkley ahead of Elliott because the lack of character concerns.
With outstanding speed, athleticism, and ability to make defenders miss in the open field Barkley is a unique generational talent.
Playing Close to Home
It is always a dream, for young men to play for the teams they grew up watching. He is originally from the Bronx, and gets to play for the same team he grew up watching. Barkley spoke about how excited he was to play close to home. He also spoke about how excited he was to play for a franchise with the tradition of excellence that the Giants have.
When Shurmur called Barkley to let him know of the news, he promised he would not let them down. Gettleman said he expected to take a gold jacket type player with this selection, and Barkley certainly has all of the intangibles to be that.
Overall the Giants still have a need at quarterback with 37-year-old Eli Manning, but Barkley’s outstanding talent makes him a solid choice. It also means the Giants have their first franchise running back since the days of Tiki Barber.
Overall Grade: A-
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images