- Name:Saquon Barkley
- College: Penn State
- Position: Running Back
- Height: 5' 11"
- Weight: 233 pounds
2017: 217 carries for 1,271 yards (5.9 average), 18 TDs; 54 catches for 632 yards (11.7 average), 3 TDs
2016: 272 carries for 1,496 yards (5.5 average), 18 TDs; 28 catches for 402 yards (14.4 average), 4 TDs
In a draft dominated by quarterbacks, Saquon Barkley will have the highest draft grade of any player. Simply put, he is a freak. In his two starting years at Penn State, he amassed almost 3,800 yards from scrimmage and 45 touchdowns including two on kick returns, just to flex his versatility. He can do it all out of the backfield and has game breaking ability. With first round running backs contributing big returns in recent history (think Ezekiel Elliot, Leonard Fournette, etc.) Barkley will be in high demand as an instant impact player. His highlight video is so much fun:
Everything? Yeah, just about everything. Before we even get to his game, it's worth noting that everyone who knows Barkley describes him as high character guy, including current Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead, describing him as "Smart, humble. He's the rare guy whose humble attitude supersedes his talent." On the field he is a powerful and explosive runner between the tackles, showing great vision on cut backs and the ability to run through someone if needed. He also has the ability to get outside on sweep plays andis extremely elusive in space. He has good hands and really improved his receiving game in 2017, contributing 54 catches. Add in that he is a great pass protector, something that can keep rookies off the field, and you are looking at one of the most complete running backs to ever enter the draft. Bonus: want to seesomeone power clean almost twice their body weight?
There are basically no holes in Barkley's game. He can get a bit indecisive in the hole at times and try to make too much happen, but those tendencies are due to him being better than everyone on the field. With his graduation to the NFL, I expect those bad habits to go away. He has a little room to improve on his pass catching as he dropped a couple easy balls over the year, but these critiques are splitting hairs.
Saquon Barkley is a generational type running back. He's an athletic specimen with a well-rounded game that will make an instant impact for an NFL team. How well he does immediately in the pros will be much more a function of where he lands than his skill set, he can do it all.