Is Saquon Barkley ready to pull an Eli Manning if selected first in the 2018 NFL Draft?
A Sports Illustrated feature story posted Wednesdayabout the dynamic running back claims Barkley’s “Roc Nation handlers” don’t want him to be taken No. 1 overall because they don’t want him in Cleveland with the Browns. The story reports that Roc Nation wants him to be drafted at No. 2 to the New York Giants so that he can “play in the media capital of the world,” adding that Barkley’s manager is urging him to “pull an Eli Manning and demand that the Browns not draft him.”
But Barkley’s agent, Kim Miale, refuted SI’s report via a text message response to Cleveland.com on Wednesday.
“As Saquon's [agent] I can say on behalf of our entire team that we would be thrilled for Saquon to go to whichever team drafts him,” Miale said. "We know he will be a resounding success for any team fortunate enough to select him.''
And when asked about Roc Nation allegedly imploring Barkley to “pull an Eli Manning,” Miale flat out said, “no.”
Of course, pulling an Eli Manning refers to the quarterback’s notorious decision to publicly state that he wouldn’t play for the then-San Diego Chargers if they tabbed him first in the 2004 NFL Draft. That paved the way for the Giants to select and trade fellow QB Philip Rivers and draft picks, which they packaged in a deal to the Chargers for Manning. In retrospect, having led the Giants to two Super Bowl titles, Manning definitely made the right move.
Is Barkley, who was born in the South Bronx, prepared to do the same to wind up with Big Blue?
While Roc Nation’s draft strategy remains to be seen, the full-service agency has reportedly built a 15-man team around Barkley to help with craft his marketing and overall brand, according to SI.
We’ll see how this pans out next week during the 2018 NFL Draft on April 26-28.