A mentor to Saquon Barkley will be a major role veteran running back Jonathan Stewart will play during his first season with the New York Giants.
One of the reasons New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman signed Jonathan Stewart in March was to have a veteran and positive presence in the locker room.
His veteran guidance will be needed even more with the Giants selecting Saquon Barkley with the second pick in the draft just last month.
The 31-year-old running back in Stewart may have had some mixed emotions once the Giants drafted Barkley because he knew he would have a lesser role in the offense. But he knows Barkley was too talented of a player to pass up.
Stewart spoke about what Barkley brings to the team following the first day of OTAs.
“He’s a smart football player, he picks things up very fast. He’s explosive and he’s really good in his route running. Actually, we talked about it today, that’s one of the things that he’s really focused on, is his ability to run routes. And you can see that today, for sure.”
Barkley has picked up on the offense quickly, but he will need guidance and mentoring especially when it comes to dealing with adversity, and dealing with the rigors of the NFL season. So having a veteran like Stewart by his side who has seen and dealt with any situation imaginable is ideal for Barkley.
During his introductory press conference, Barkley spoke specifically about wanting to meet and learn from Stewart.
“Obviously, with the life of being a New York Giant, being a well-known franchise and being in the media, the New York media and the spotlight, just how to handle yourself and what not to do and what to do. Just kind of little tips there and other great guys in this facility and this locker room that I look forward to learn from, especially a guy like [running back] Jonathan Stewart. As a young back, to learn from him, he’s been in the NFL for a very long time and I can’t wait to pick his brain, too.”
Stewart has accomplished a lot over his 11-year career. He’s the Carolina Panthers all-time leading rusher, been named to the Pro Bowl in 2015, and was the lone Panther to score a touchdown in their 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
— Jason Leach (@JasonKLeach) May 25, 2018
Winning a Super Bowl is one of the big motivations for Stewart and was one of the reasons he decided to sign with the Giants. Gettleman was the orchestrator of the 2015 Panthers that made it to the Super Bowl, and Stewart feels with the addition of Barkley and others, the Giants can win a Super Bowl.
Some may question how effective Stewart can be on the field since he’s coming off a career-low 3.4 yards per carry. But with the Giants’ revamped offensive line that includes Nate Solder, Will Hernandez and Patrick Omameh, you can expect for Stewart’s yards per carry to increase.
But the biggest impact he might make this year is to help groom Barkley into becoming a star in this league.