Saquon Barkley is still the future of the New York Giants backfield and perhaps the offense. Nothing has changed in that regard.
The pick is still Barkley for the New York Giants, even with all the buzz that they should draft a quarterback or make a deal. Sure, there has been plenty of upheaval in the league after the first week of free agency or even because recent trades have affected the order of the NFL Draft. But the Giants need to stick to their gameplan and get this pick right.
The surefire thing isn’t a quarterback who may or may not develop. It also isn’t trading back although that might be very logical and prudent. Barkley’s addition to this team accelerates the rebuild and maximizes the current window with quarterback Eli Manning.
The Penn State running back checks off all the boxes. Plus, the Giants are closer in terms of talent to being the 11-5 team from two years ago that made the playoffs than they are to being last year’s dumpster fire. This team needs tweaks, it needs additions. What the Giants don’t need is to go No. 2 overall on a project quarterback.
A player like Barkley gets them into the playoff picture. He balances the offense and gives a playmaker where the Giants haven't had one in quite some time.
Barkley had production in college both as a feature back but also as a receiving option out of the backfield, something that the Giants need. He has the physical build to withstand the pounding of the NFL and a strong work ethic. There is also the fact that he is a high-character individual, a workout warrior and a difference maker at Penn State who at times carried one of the Big Ten’s top teams on his back.
With a revamped offensive line, the Giants would be in a prime position to get the most out of Barkley and finally have a backfield that can add something to the offense. The ground game would no longer be a detriment as has been the case in recent years. It’d actually develop into a strength.
The presence of a running back helps Manning, not just because he can use Barkley as a receiving option out of the backfield but because the semblance of a legitimate ground game opens things up down the field. It also means that Manning won’t have to stand in the pocket and get pummeled 40 times a game because the Giants can’t run the ball. He addresses all those pressing needs.
With Barkley, they can run the ball. With Barkley, they would run the ball.
The quarterback situation is unknown and likely no one would supplant Eli Manning, at least not this year. Sam Darnold isn’t going to be there since he is Cleveland bound and the Giants need help now with a first-round pick. Developing a quarterback isn’t going to help them get back into the playoffs.
Barkley, however, would come in and balance the offense, making wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard more effective because teams would finally have to respect the Giants ground game. He also helps the Giants with their long-term outlook.
The Giants are in the final year of Beckham’s rookie contract. Should he walk or they need to trade him, Barkley is a playmaker and a building block for the offense. The identity of the offense and the team could shift around his talents.
Now should the Giants consider trading with the Buffalo Bills and getting multiple picks later in the draft? Yea, that is a good thought and one worth exploring. It would certainly address depth issues on multiple fronts.
Barkley though is special, and there is no guarantee that a player like him will be there if the Giants are drafting midway through the first round. But he will be there when the Giants select at No. 2. He gets this team back into the playoffs, he's that good.
And he will be a Giant if this team wants the best available player. He is much more than their future, he Barkley would also be their present.