New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley addresses the slim possibility of achieving the 2018 rushing title on Sunday.
The rookie out of Penn State has 1,198 rushing yards through 16 games this season, third in the NFL. The only two above him are Rams running back Todd Gurley with 1,251 and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot with 1,434.
He only needs 53 yards on the ground to pass Gurley and has a good chance to do so, due to the fact Gurley will be sitting the Rams’ week 17 game in order to rest for the playoffs.
However, he needs 236 yards to match Elliot’s current total. Elliot, who unlike Gurley, will play on Sunday. Yes, it is a meaningless game for Dallas, as they have locked up the four-seed in the NFC playoffs. However, Elliot is looking towards his second rushing title in the first three years he’s been in the NFL. The Dallas back achieved it when he was a rookie out of Ohio State in 2016.
“I mean, you never know,” Barkley said Thursday on the possibility of the title, per Pat Leonard of the Daily News. “You never know, but hey, if it doesn’t happen, (Elliott) is a great back and credit to him. I really respect his game. Not only him but Todd Gurley, Alvin (Kamara), Phillip Lindsay, Christian McCaffrey — who I think (doesn’t) get a lot of the attention that he should. I respect all those guys. And to be even close, top five, or whatever I am with those guys in this league is an amazing honor.”
If the rushing title doesn’t work out, there are other records Barkley can achieve this Sunday. He needs 114 yards from scrimmage to become the third rookie back in NFL history to achieve 2000 yards from scrimmage in a single season. Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson did it in 1983 with 2,212 yards, as well as former Colts running back Edgerrin James in 1999 with 2,139.
Barkley also needs just two more receptions to break the record for most single-season receptions by a rookie running back. He has 87 currently, with the record standing at 88, set by Reggie Bush in 2006.
No matter what records he may break, and what record he may not break, the Giants made a good move going with Barkley instead of a quarterback in the first round of last year’s NFL draft.