Saquon Barkley has proved many New York Giants fans wrong. There were a multitude of Giants fans who wanted the Giants to select a quarterback with the second pick. Some potential players included Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Josh Allen. However, the Giants opted instead to draft a running back with the second pick. The last time a running back was selected with the second pick was in the 2006 NFL Draft when the New Orleans Saints selected Reggie Bush. It is obviously too early to determine whether passing on Darnold was the correct decision, but Barkley has stolen New York’s heart.
Barkley is the all-purpose back the Giants have been lacking since Tiki Barber retired back in 2007. Barber is the leading rusher in Giants history, but it would not be surprising if Barkley one day surpasses him. They are not the same type of running back, with Barkley being a much more powerful back. However, Barber and Barkley are similar receivers, which is a good sign for Barkley.
At the time of his retirement, Tiki Barber ranked ninth all-time for all-purpose yards from the line of scrimmage. This was due to his pass receiving talents and not just his rushing ability. Barkley showcased his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield against both the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans. Against the Cowboys, he broke the Giants record for most receptions in a game. This was held by none other than Barber, and Barkley ended the game with 14 receptions. Against the Texans, Eli Manning motioned Barkley out wide and he beat the linebacker off the line of scrimmage for a 21-yard gain. This showcased how versatile he is as a player, and is an extremely dangerous weapon.
All-Purpose Running Back
The 67-yard touchdown run against the Jacksonville Jaguars was the moment I realized that I was wrong for doubting the Giants management. That run depicted Barkley as a running back. He made four tacklers miss him, one behind the line of scrimmage. Then he bounced to the outside and accelerated downfield. The Giants run game has not produced a run like this in a long time, and it was rejuvenating to watch Barkley toss around one of the best defenses on a play like this. He then proceeded to have a big game against the Texans as well, who couldn’t seem to stop him. He was picking up large chunks of yardage against a solid defense.
The most surprising part of this saga is that Barkley is 21 years old. The Giants can have this man lined up in their backfield for a full decade. That is a scary thought. It has always been said that running backs will not win you championships. However, a good run game will open up the passing attack. This was seen against the Texans when Manning finally looked like his old self, throwing for nearly 300 yards in a crucial win.
Super Bowl Contenders
Drafting a quarterback made the most sense for the future because Manning is 37 years old. Father time will catch up to him soon, but for now he is still reliable. Barkley is a generational talent who might be able to help Manning win a Super Bowl before he retires. For every Giants fan saying the team shouldn’t have drafted him, Barkley’s 67-yard touchdown run against the Jaguars made everyone realize the Giants made the correct selection.
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