The New York Giants have selected Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second-overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday night at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
In what was new general manager Dave Gettleman’s first draft with the team, his close-to-the-vest mentality had the Giants holding all the cards of this year’s festivities despite the Cleveland Browns owning the No. 1 pick.
On paper, this is a team that doesn’t seem too far away from competing for the playoffs despite there being plenty of needs within their ranks after a disappointing 3-13 season.
However, there was still the possibility of the Giants trading the pick to a team that was desperate for a quarterback.
While Barkley turned out to be the pick, New York could have taken a quarterback like USC’s Sam Darnold or Wyoming’s Josh Allen, who would become Eli Manning’s successor. The veteran quarterback will turn 38 in December and has two years remaining on his contract.
But Gettleman has remained adamant that Manning is the team’s starter in 2018 and Barkley’s availability was just too good to pass up. After all, this is the best overall prospect in this year’s draft class.
The Penn State product has the promise of becoming not just a Pro Bowler in the NFL, but a star whose career could possibly flirt with Canton and the Hall of Fame one day.
A relentless work ethic has helped create a strong, elusive runner that can beat an opposing defense in every way possible. He can run over a would-be tackler or use his supreme agility to deke his way around them. Once he’s in the open field, he’s gone as his bursts of speed are second to none.
Over the past two years in Happy Valley, Barkley rushed for over 2,700 yards and added another 1,100 receiving with 43 combined touchdowns, numbers that the Giants will be hoping can translate to the NFL.
Once known as a franchise whose offense was built on a successful, methodical run game, the Giants run game has been ranked in the lower half of the league in each of the last five years, including a 26th-place finish last year.
Barkley gives the Giants a premier back that will take loads of pressure of Manning and a passing game centered around Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and second-year tight end Evan Engram.