Pro Football Focus has included New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley on its list of the top 25 NFL players under 25 years old.
Saquon Barkley‘s 2019 campaign was nowhere near close to his 2018 performance. After leading the league in scrimmage yards his rookie season (2,028), the New York Giants running back barely surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in 2019, having battled injury-related issues for much of the year.
But in spite of the setbacks his sophomore campaign introduced, Pro Football Focus still believes in Saquon enough to include him on its “Top 25 players under the age of 25” list.
After giving Barkley the No. 13 spot, Ben Linsey writes, “Barkley’s inclusion on this list is based on the obvious talent he showcased as a rookie in 2018 rather than the relatively disappointing, injury-plagued sophomore campaign we saw from him this past season. As a rookie in 2018, Barkley’s 86.3 receiving grade was a top-five mark at the position, and his 31 missed tackles forced after the catch led all NFL players by eight. That elusiveness — both as a runner and a receiver — is what makes him so dynamic in open space and what earns him a spot on this list.”
There’s no doubt that the 23-year-old carries the potential to undergo a historical career. We all saw what he was able to do on the field in 2018, even with a poor offensive line that encompassed below-average players like Nate Solder, Spencer Pulley, and Chad Wheeler.
His 1,307 rushing yards were second in the league that year behind Ezekiel Elliott’s 1,434. Barkley additionally set the record for most single-season receptions by a rookie running back with 91. Reggie Bush held the previous mark after notching 88 receptions with the New Orleans Saints in 2006.
Barkley’s rookie-year efforts earned him a Pro Bowl nod and the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Thus, it’s a shame what he had to deal with in 2019.
If he’s able to stay out of the medical tent, Barkley will surely experience a fantastic 2020 campaign. Not to mention, he’s slated to have an improved offensive line with first-round pick Andrew Thomas now in the mix.