After a dismal performance on Thursday Night Football put the New York Giants at 1-5 on the season, it’s hard to imagine that the team is going to get back in the race for the postseason this year.
Eli Manning has struggled, Odell Beckham seems close to complete breakdown and the offensive line is putrid. But it hasn’t all been negative.
Saquon Barkley is an absolute animal and is everything he was hyped up to be when entering the draft. The Giants selected him with the No. 2 overall pick and though some will argue that the team should have chosen one of the top quarterbacks to eventually succeed Manning, Barkley was the right choice.
Just watching Barkley on Thursday night was all the evidence one should need in determining just how good this guy can be, even if that was the first time you’ve seen him play this season.
He finished the game with 229 total yards (130 rushing, 99 receiving) on 22 touches. That is an average of 10.4 yards per touch! He also became the first player in NFL history to record 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the first six games of his career.
He hits the hole with a great burst and shows tremendous cutback ability. He makes guys miss and powers through tackles. He can catch the ball and make tacklers miss in space and when he senses the end zone, his breakaway speed sets him apart from nearly every other running back.
He’s special. You could use a slew of other descriptive words, but this guy is special.
How good can he be? The league has a lot of great running backs. Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott and Le’Veon Bell (whenever he decides he wants to play again), are all in the conversation as the best running back in the league.
But Barkley is just 21 years old. Not only does he have all of that God-given ability, he’s an even better person off of the field, something you can’t always say.
While some would argue that Barkley’s talent is being wasted due to the team he plays for, that is something that will (we hope) get corrected.
The NFL is full of exceptional talent. Patrick Mahomes is turning heads in his first season as a starting quarterback. Aaron Donald is a physical force as a defensive lineman as is Khalil Mack. Antonio Brown and Julio Jones are athletic freaks at the wide receiver position.
And the list goes on….
But Barkley will be the best. Yes, the best. As in best player in the entire NFL. He could be recognized as that as early as next season too, he’s that good.
Now it’s up to the Giants’ front office to recognize what they were fortunate enough to come across and properly build around him.