As it turns out, this Saquon Barkley kid may have a future.
The Penn State running back has all the tape anyone needs to see, but has put up strong numbers at the Scouting Combine to convince any skeptics who might still exist.
Barkley just logged an unofficial 4.41-second 40-yard dash, a blazing time for a guy who weighed in at 233 pounds. For comparison, last year’s top back, Leonard Fournette, ran a 4.51 at 240 pounds.
Barkley also had a 41-inch vertical earlier today, showing the kind of explosiveness that you’d suspect if you’d see him run.
Despite the persistent “running backs are devalued” chorus, he’s expected to go quite high in this year’s draft, and he’ll tempt the Giants at No. 2 if not the Browns with the top spot.
“The bottom line is, is the guy a football player?” Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman said earlier this week. “This whole myth of devaluing running backs, I find it kind of comical. At the end of the day, if he’s a great player he’s a great player. It doesn’t matter what position it is. But the other thing, sometimes, listening to Pat (Shurmur), sometimes I think it gets lost in the sauce that football is the ultimate team game. You blow a whistle and 11 guys have to go out there, both offense and defense and special teams.
“Everybody has to understand that every player is important. That’s why when you are looking at the second pick in the draft like we are, the first thing we have to determine is: Is this guy worthy of being the second pick of any draft? Not just this year’s draft, but any draft? And then you make that determination and you move forward. Position? If he’s a great player I don’t care how stacked we are at that position, we’re taking him. It’s all about accumulating talent.”
While the Giants have to consider finding a long-term replacement for Eli Manning, they might be better served putting a potential game-changing runner with him to maximize the years he has left.