The New York Giants selected Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the 2nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the highest pick a running back has ever been selected at since 2006 when the New Orleans Saints selected Reggie Bush also with the 2nd pick. Analysts and fans across the NFL world have been salivating over the young rusher’s potential, and some have gone as far as saying he is the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, maybe even ever. Why are some people going berserk over a guy we haven’t even see play a regular season snap?
When Saquon Barkley announced that he would declare for the draft last season, fans of struggling NFL teams (including myself) got excited. An upset fan can be cheered up with the selection of one player, and the Giants fans were fortunate enough to land the potential-filled rusher. In this article, I will be going over 3 reasons why Barkley WILL live up to his potential, and 3 reasons why Barkley WILL NOT live up to the hype.
Why Barkley WILL live up to the hype
- Opportunity: The amount of weapons that Barkley has around him will most definitely help Barkley’s game. If the defense is focused on superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, Barkley will have his fair share of opportunities to establish himself as a premier halfback in the NFL pretty fast.
- His phenomenal NFL Combine: Obviously no one would prefer to base a prediction strictly on the NFL Combine, but Barkley’s numbers at the 2018 NFL Combine are simply not something we can overlook. The Penn State product ran a 4.40 in the 40 yard dash, put up 29 reps at the bench press, and jumped 41 inches at the vertical jump drill. These numbers may not be easy for an average fan to analyze, but many experts and analysts rank these combine numbers among the best performances of all time. If Barkley can perform at that high of a level in the NFL, Giants fans will be rejoicing.
- New offensive minded head coach: The New York Giants hired Pat Shurmur this past offseason, and many Giants fans were thrilled with the hiring. We’ve all seen what Pat Shurmur did with Case Keenum, but one thing that I think went unnoticed was Shurmur’s success with the running back core. Shurmur was able to efficiently utilize the talent in his backfield, even after rookie running back Dalvin Cook went down early in the season with an ACL tear. Shurmur led his backfield containing Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon to 1,936 scrimmage yards, and 13 total touchdowns. One can only imagine what Shurmur can do with the ever-so talented Saquon Barkley.
Why Barkley WILL NOT live up to the hype
- We’ve seen this before: Two words. Trent Richardson. The guy everyone refers to when discussing Barkley’s future. Trent Richardson was selected with the 3rd overall pick by the Cleveland Browns, and flat out flopped. He simply did not live up to the hype coming out of college, and many Giants fans fear the same may happen to Barkley.
- Giants offensive line: Everyone knows that a big part of success in the NFL starts with the big boys upfront. The Giants clearly have struggled in past years with the offensive line, and a big part of those struggles is because of the past regime (Jerry Reese) never really addressing the issue. With newly hired general manager Dave Gettleman stepping in, Giants faithful can garner hope in the 2 new acquisitions of Nate Solder and Will Hernandez. Gotta get those hogmollies!
- He may just simply flop: The last reason may seem like dumb reason, but quite honestly some players just flop when they enter the NFL for no apparent reason at all. This one is pretty self-explanatory in the fact that you can’t explain it!
Saquon Barkley will look to repeat his college success over at Penn State, and will attempt to live up to the hype and his potential as a football player.
Will he flop, or will he live up to the hype? Only time will tell.