Saquon Barkley is a 6-foot, 233-pound running back from Penn State University. He was the 2017 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year with 1,496 rushing yards with 18 touchdowns and after a remarkable NFL Combine, he was granted the title of God’s Gift to Football.
However, it is impossible to not criticize this pick and even as I write this, I am still trying to figure out whether or not I like this selection. Walk with me as I convince myself that Barkley was a good pick in real time.
The New York Giants were 3-13 last season and had holes everywhere on the roster, most noticeably, their offensive line led by Ereck Flowers, one of the worst offensive tackles I’ve ever seen.
Heading into the draft, I thought the Giants should’ve traded down from the No. 2 pick because there wasn’t a lineman great enough that deserved to be drafted that high and a team would have given the Giants a treasure chest to move up to number 2.
Especially after the Browns drafted Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall. On most team’s draft boards, Mayfield was the least talented out of all the top QB’s available so everyone’s favorite quarterback prospect, whether it was Josh Allen or Sam Darnold, was still available at No. 2 meaning that the Giants for sure received phone calls and trade offers.
So why didn’t the Giants pick a quarterback?
Eli Manning is 37-years old. Although he has zero injury history, he is still an elderly man in football years and can’t play forever. This was the Giants chance to find the heir to the throne and have Eli pass the baton to Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen.
But as I mentioned earlier, the Giants were trash last season and have a lot of holes to fill. Spending the No. 2 overall pick on a guy who might not start for another year or two is an absolute waste when you know you have Eli starting.
Worst case scenario, Eli and the Giants stink again next season and they fall into the top of the 2019 NFL draft. Next draft they’d be in the same situation and could confidently pick a quarterback knowing once and for all that Eli is washed.
But that’s not the case…yet.
On top of all that, sure, there were 5 quarterbacks selected in the first round but none of them really jump off the page as a future Hall-of-Famer. There wasn’t an Andrew Luck this year. If anything, it seems like a draft full of Matt Stafford’s and Joe Flacco’s. No thanks.
Sooo, Saquon Barkley it is.
At the end of the day, I’m a firm believer in drafting the best player available. I graduated from the Sam Hinkie school of team building. Everyone was confused when the Philadelphia 76ers GM, Sam Hinkie, continued to draft the same position every year but he wasn’t drafting a team full of 7-foot tall centers, he was gathering a team of ‘value’. He was gathering assets. Chess pieces on the board.
Saquon Barkley was the best prospect available on the board and it wasn’t even close. But due to the rookie pay scale, he is already the 4th highest paid running back in the NFL. The value of the running back has gone down in the league so far that most teams are paying pennies for the position. Giants are now paying top dollar. Cool.
Barkley is a finesse rusher who doesn’t run between the tackles and doesn’t rack up a bunch of carries. He’s like Reggie Bush but far more athletic. He’s better than Reggie Bush. I regret comparing the two players. I feel like that’s the meanest thing I could’ve said about Barkley. Barkley is great.
Sure, Lamar Jackson, the Heisman winning quarterback from Louisville, had more rushing yards than the running back drafted No. 2 overall but again, Barkley is great and is more than just a rusher. He is going to have a huge impact in the passing game, probably.
Here’s why I have faith in Barkley exceeding expectations and revitalizing the running back position: His college girlfriend just had their baby. He’s fucked. There is a 1000% chance that this random chick from the slums of Pennsylvania just used Barkley and is about to ‘gold dig’, as the kids say.
Why is that positive for the Giants? He will literally be running to pay for child support. The football field will be his sanctuary while his home life is destroyed. He needs every single yard so that he can afford his exes bullshit.
Saquon Barkley is going to be the best running back in NFL history, probably, maybe, I don’t know. Hopeffuly or whatever.