What Would Saquon Barkley Mean For Eli Manning?

The New York Giants have been heavily linked to Penn State running back Saquon Barkley ahead of Thursday’s NFL draft. Does this mean they will take him? Absolutely not, but the consensus points towards the possibility.

In this scenario, we will take a look at his potential impact on Eli Manning, and why drafting him would promote a “win now” approach to the 2018 season.

Manning is undoubtedly approaching his final years as the Giants’ franchise quarterback, and denying that fact would be ignorant. Be it as it may, the Giants ‘can’ still succeed with old-man Manning at the helm, he just requires the fundamental pieces around him.



Giving Eli an offensive line and star running back will help him reach his potential, but it won’t take him to a level we haven’t seen over the course of his career. He will still make questionable decisions, make errant throws, and look like a fish out of water at times – but maybe, just maybe, it’ll happen far less than usual.

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Adding a piece to the puzzle like Barkley takes a ton of pressure off of Manning and his arm. The veteran QB was forced to carry the offense in 2017, and we all know how that panned out.

So, what exactly does Barkley provide that makes him so superior to any other back?

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Barkley enters the league as a 234 pound runner with sub 4.4 speed. That kind of agility and pace is almost unfathomable. Additionally, his ability to block only adds to his value alongside Manning. The Giants’ QB has lacked a true blocking running back over the years, which has hurt him in the passing game. Barkley would change that trend immediately, along with some additions to the offensive line.

One aspect of Barkley’s game that’s often disregarded is his kick returning abilities. Now, it’s unlikely the Giants use him as their primary return man, but in dire situations they can utilize that aspect of his game. Similar to when Odell Beckham Jr. would return punts.

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One player that would also benefit from the drafting of Barkley is Beckham Jr. The Giants’ top receiver has received plenty of attention from opposing defenses, simply because he was the only real threat on the offense. With Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard and OBJ providing options in the passing game, the Giants lack a dynamic running back. That’s exactly what Barkley would provide.

Instead of blindly dropping back into coverage, defenses would have to honor the run game and ensure they leave linebackers to spy on Barkley on the second level. This will open up single coverage for Shepard and  Beckham Jr., but also open up the seam for Engram. With head coach Pat Shurmur taking over play-calling duties, we should expect an unpredictable and exciting system. Barkley would add a weapon to his arsenal that would turn the offensive into one of the most dynamic in the league.