|18,292||2||Saquon Barkley||RB||Penn State||5'11"||223|
Saquon Barkley is a multifaceted running back, who is a threat to take it to the house on any given play. Barkley recorded 39 career rushing touchdowns (over 35 career regular season games), and added 7 receiving touchdowns. He is a threat returning kickoffs (27.7 career average) with 2 scores. Great nephew of three-time boxing champion Iran Barkley. Reportedly, hand-timed running a 4.33 40-yard dash.
Elite work ethic. While many other draft prospects folded up the tent, Barkley was busy padding his resume, scoring twice (on 18 carries for 137 yards) in his final bowl game. Winning matters to Barkley. Superior shiftiness to make defenders miss. Has the power to easily shed would-be arm tackles. Creates coverage mismatches in the passing game. Pass protection will be more complex at the next level, yet it’s a good sign that he only allowed 1 sack (2016) over the past 2 seasons.
It’s tough to find any glaring weaknesses in Barkley’s game. He can sometimes bounce the play out too quickly instead of letting the play develop. There are times on wider runs (stretch plays and sweeps) where he could make a quicker decision to cut it up the field. While he has skillful hands, and is a dynamic threat in the passing game, he has a few dropped passes. He does not play in a pro scheme, so he may have a small learning curve at the next level.
Barkley could run under a 4.4, 40-yard dash at the combine. A true every down back, who is also very effective at returning kicks. He has an elite grade which puts him in the company of Ezekiel Elliot and Leonard Fournette. Barkley is likely to be selected in the top 5 just as the aforementioned. His extremely powerful and explosive legs reminds me of a young Edgerrin James (pre-injury).
The Colts have the 3rd overall pick in the 2018 draft, and Jim Irsay recently made a comment during the Colts season ending press conference that raised some eyebrows. Irsay hinted about getting Andrew Luck an Edgerrin James type of back to tandem with. It is always possible that Jim Irsay is hyping the value of the third overall pick. That said, if the Colts keep the pick then Barkley seems to be a likely choice.
12/31/2017 – Saquon Barkley Declares for NFL Draft
12/30/2017 – Barkley runs for 137 and 2 scores in his farewell game.