The opinions on the New York Giants going into this season have been cautious rather than optimistic by most parts of the media in the buildup to the 2019 season and for good reason – Hyping the team up for the past couple of seasons has only resulted in disappointment, and it would be a good idea to not repeat the mistakes of the past and set unrealistic expectations for the team at this point in the year.
However, one player with high expectations that can be considered realistic is Saquon Barkley, the NFL’s second leading rusher from last year and likely the best player on the Giants roster this year. Barkley is undoubtedly going to be one of the major leaders for the Giants this year if not the big leader on offense, and according to ESPN, Barkley is the best player of his age in the entire league.
There’s plenty of good young players in the NFL right now, but ESPN placed Barkley as the top 22 year old in the league recently. Here’s some of what they had to say:
The Giants’ decision to move on from wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and the looming quarterback transition from Eli Manning to Daniel Jones leave Barkley as the every-down anchor of their offense. He touched the ball 352 times last season. Is there any doubt he’ll surpass 400 in 2019? (To answer the inevitable question: The NFL’s post-merger record for touches in a 16-game season is 492, by the Buccaneers’ James Wilder in 1984, as a 26-year-old.)
Barkley won’t just be competing for the title of best young player this season, but will potentially compete for the title of best offensive player period. It looks like only the league’s top quarterbacks are going to compete with Barkley in the MVP race, which tends to be stacked in the favor of the quarterback position due to the fact that the NFL has very much become a passing league.
But the Giants, despite adding Golden Tate this year and having a number of receivers ready to break out, aren’t quite a passing team. We’ll see if their unconventional team building style is enough to boost their star running back to the status of MVP at the end of the year.