When it comes to the New York Giants, save the chatter of Odell Beckham Jr.’s explosiveness and his new record-breaking contract for another day. One former NFL head coach is all in on rookie running back Saquon Barkley.
The Giants can forget about having one of the league’s worst rushing attacks soon. Barkley — the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft — will take care of that problem, according to former NFL Coach of the Year Bruce Arians.
“I saw a few games on television and he piqued my interest,” Arians told NJ Advance Media. “When you’re watching him, you think he’s like 190 pounds. Then, you see that he’s 235 pounds and it’s like; holy sh—, he’s special.
“Whether it’s kickoff returns, receiving yards, the play the other day in practice when he pulled his hamstring running on a deep-ball as a wide receiver. He brings so much.”
A 6-foot, 233-pound electrifying running back, Barkley ripped opposing defenses to shreds with the Penn State Nittany Lions, compiling 3,843 rushing yards, 1,195 receiving yards and 51 total touchdowns during his career in State College, Pennsylvania.
Arians, who has been around a plethora of Hall of Fame running backs at the college and professional levels, believes Barkley has a lot of similarities to his star when he was the coach for the Arizona Cardinals from 2013-17.
“He reminds me a lot of David Johnson.” Arians said. “Man, that’s special stuff, because, he’s truly a mismatch. If teams want to go double-team Odell then Saquon’s going to kill it inside.
“I think they’re similar because of the receiving ability. David was a wide receiver early in his career. He can just go out and naturally run routes. Saquon has shown that he can do that. But, he’s probably better off in the running back tree as far as running routes because he’s such a mismatch against safeties and linebackers.”
Barkley took his first NFL carry for 39 yards and finished his debut with 43 yards on four carries against the Cleveland Browns. He did not see any game action against the Detroit Lions or New York Jets while nursing a minor hamstring injury, but has returned to practice.
That is some high praise for Arians, though, and if he’s correct, get ready to watch a special career begin to unfold when New York’s season starts on September 9.