Name: Saquon Barkley
School: Penn State
Size: 5’11”, 230 lb
Home State: Pennsylvania (born in New York City, however)
Few running backs can move like Saquon Barkley. His jump-cuts and jukes are better than those of any player to come out of college in recent memory—full stop. This video game-style ability comes from his extraordinarily flexible hips, tremendous balance, and explosive lower-body. Barkley’s weightlifting prowess is well-documented; in addition to his finesse game, the Nittany Lion can be a powerful inside-the-tackles runner when the situation calls for it. Also, as the video above shows, this Penn State star has breakaway speed, and we expect him to run in the 4.3s at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. From the standpoint of versatility, Barkley is a skilled route runner, a fine pass catcher out of the backfield, and a dangerous kick returner.
If Barkley needs to work on one thing, it would be knowing his limitations. On numerous occasions, Barkley has danced around in the backfield, running backwards in an attempt to find rushing lanes. More often than not, this risky gambit ends up losing even more yards—and this has been against college players. At the next level, Barkley will need to accept that some plays will result in one or two-yard losses. Other than that, Barkley is an almost flawless running back who has few weaknesses.
We haven’t seen a running back like Barkley come out in a long time. That includes Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley, though they are in his tier. Truthfully, Barkley is one of the main reasons that Penn State’s football program was able to return to prominence; he is the type of player who can bring a team back to greatness.
Early First Round