New York Giants: Saquon Barkley A Top 25 Under 25

Cay North
New York Giants, Saquon Barkley, Darius Slayton
Oct 27, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) congratulates wide receiver Darius Slayton (86) after touchdown reception by Slayton against the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Due to injury trouble last season and a slow comeback from those problems, it’s easy to forget at times that New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley was one of the most dominant backs in the league in his rookie season. However, Barkley reminded the league of his potential near the end of the 2019 season, and comes into the 2020 season as the main offensive weapon for the Giants along with Daniel Jones at quarterback.

Barkley is also one of the top players in the league in general, and that’s not something that can be said about most of the Giants roster at this time. The Giants don’t dominate at most positions but when it comes to running back, they arguably have one of the top three players in the league – and Barkley is also one of the only Giants right now to widely get credit from non-Giants sources as a top player.

According to Pro Football Focus, Barkley is on the list of the top 25 players under 25, which isn’t surprising given his rookie season performance.

13. RB SAQUON BARKLEY, NEW YORK GIANTS

Age at kickoff: 23 years, 7 months, 1 day

Barkley’s inclusion on this list is based on the obvious talent he showcased as a rookie in 2018 rather than the relatively disappointing, injury-plagued sophomore campaign we saw from him this past season. As a rookie in 2018, Barkley’s 86.3 receiving grade was a top-five mark at the position, and his 31 missed tackles forced after the catch led all NFL players by eight. That elusiveness — both as a runner and a receiver — is what makes him so dynamic in open space and what earns him a spot on this list.

What’s perhaps most surprising, however, is that Barkley is only ranked 13th. He’s behind not just some of the top quarterbacks in the league, but also defensive players such as Marshon Lattimore, Kenny Clark, and Nick Bosa… The ranking is definitely lower than what most Giants fans would give Barkley, but it’s based on both seasons of Barkley’s career – and the second season was a disappointment, even if Barkley had good reasons for it to be.

Still, Barkley should have better blocking and better coaching this season, which are both things that are useful in bouncing back from a bad year as a running back. Hopefully, that rise back to the top becomes the dominant narrative in season three rather than an injury struggle.