Because most rookies don’t get enough credit, we’ll be highlighting some top performances by the NFL’s next generation.
Offense: Week 1
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
On the offensive side of the ball, there was little doubt in my mind that Penn State’s Saquon Barkley was the most immediate difference maker available in the draft. What we saw Sunday against a tough Jaguars defense only cemented that fact. The Giants caught a massive break when the Browns let Barkley fall to number two overall to select Baker Mayfield, who didn’t beat out Tyrod Taylor for the starting job in Cleveland. On Sunday, against a team that has Super Bowl aspirations, Barkley was an absolute monster out of the backfield, tallying 106 yards on eighteen carries plus a touchdown. And boy, was that touchdown a doozy. It was a sixty-eight yard inside run that appeared to be completely snuffed out by the Jaguar defense…until Barkley showed patience and athleticism by bouncing it to the right. In the blink of an eye, he was gone, streaking down the sideline and into the end zone. He’s a modern, versatile back that can catch the football as well. He caught two passes for twenty-two yards on Sunday. His presence will do wonders to open up the Giants offense, as play action will definitely have more bite with him in the backfield. The tandem of Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. should give Eli Manning his most balanced attack in the last decade.
Check out previous rookie reports here.