Over the past week, former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley has become the front-runner to go second in the draft to the New York Giants, and this was before his impressive showing at the combine.
Saquon Barkley is a dynamic and explosive running back who ran for 3,843 yards in his three years in college and scored a total of 51 touchdowns. Some feel the New York Giants should use the second pick on a quarterback since Eli Manning is 37-years-old and only has two years remaining on his contract. Others feel they should draft Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson or trade down in the draft and acquire more picks.
But Barkley is a difference maker who can not only immediately help a team, but drastically change that team.
Here are the reasons why the Giants should draft Saquon Barkley:
1. Best skill position player in the draft
By all accounts, not only is Barkley the best running back in the draft, but he’s also the best skill position player in the draft. If there were any doubts about this, just take a look at what he did at the NFL combine on Friday where he ran a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 29 times.
— NFL (@NFL) March 2, 2018
It’s rare that this type of player comes out in the draft and even rarer that the Giants are in a position to draft the best player.
Normally, taking a running back with the second pick is considered too high unless you feel that player can be an All-Pro caliber player for several years, and that’s exactly what Barkley as viewed as.
2. Top running backs are becoming more valuable
It’s true, the NFL is a passing league, but we’re starting to see teams that have elite running backs are the ones who find themselves in the playoffs.
One thing the top-five rushers in the league had in common this past season (Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy, Mark Ingram) is that they all made the playoffs. In comparison, just three out of the top five passing yardage leaders made the playoffs last season (Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger).
Slowly but surely, having an every-down workhorse running back is becoming more of a necessity in the NFL. We saw how the Cowboys offense looked this season when Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games last season.
Barkley is as talented as those running backs and having him to go along with an improved offensive line he’ll help the Giants become contenders again.
3. Combined with OBJ, Sterling Shepard and Engram would make the Giants offense explosive
As hard as it to believe especially when you consider the Giants have a two-time Super Bowl MVP in Eli Manning, they haven’t scored 30 points in a game since the 2015 season finale against the Eagles. One of the reasons of this is because the Giant have had no threat of a running game.
Last year the Giants were 26th in rushing and in 2016 they had the 29th-rushing attack. In each of those seasons, they averaged under four yards per carry.
Barkley would not only give the Giants a threat in the backfield that defenses would have to respect but he would also open up the Giants passing game because defenses would have to account for Barkley.
Imagine how dynamic of an offense the Giants would have with Barkley to go along with Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. They would easily have the best set of skill players in the NFL, and with Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur committed to upgrading the offensive line, the Giants will not only end their 30-point scoring drought, but they’ll also have one of the best offenses in the NFL.
4. Doesn’t prevent also drafting a quarterback
If the Giants take Barkley with the second pick in the draft, that doesn’t prohibit them from also taking a quarterback in the draft. The Giants could use their second-round pick (34th overall) and one of their two fourth-round picks to trade back into the first round if a quarterback they desire begins to slide.
There’s also a possibility Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson could fall to the second round, which would give the opportunity to get the best running back in the draft in Barkley, and one of the best quarterbacks in Jackson giving them a very bright future.