clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Draft 2018 Scouting Report: Saquon Barkley is the crown jewel of this class

New, comments
NCAA Football: Penn State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Measurables

6’0”, 233 lbs

40-yd Dash: 4.40 seconds

Vertical Jump: 41 inches

Bench Press: 29 reps

Stats

2017: 1,271 Rushing Yards, 5.9 Yards Per Carry, 18 Touchdowns, 632 Receiving Yards

2016: 1,496 Rushing Yards, 5.5 Yards Per Carry, 18 Touchdowns, 402 Receiving Yards

2015: 1,076 Rushing Yards, 5.9 Yards Per Carry, 7 Touchdowns, 161 Receiving Yards

Awards

2017 First-Team All-American

2017 First-Team All-Big Ten

2017 Big-Ten Offensive Player of the Year

2017 No. 4 in the Heisman Trophy voting

2017 Paul Hornung Award (college football’s most versatile player)

2017 Finalist for the Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award, Lombardi Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award

2016 Second-Team All-American

2016 First-Team All-Big Ten

2016 Big-Ten Offensive Player of the Year

2015 Second-Team All-Big Ten

2015 Big-Ten Offensive Freshman of the Year

Strengths

With a 6’0”, 233 lb frame and world-class speed and agility, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley looks as if he was made in a laboratory. His athleticism combined with great vision and an unreal jump cut make him one of the best running backs to come out of the draft in years.

Barkley is also a receiving threat out of the backfield which will help him be a three-down player in the NFL. His pass blocking is dependable as he squares up his feet and body to meet blitzing defenders.

Weaknesses

At times, Barkley suffers from ‘Barry Sanders syndrome’ where he tries to make something out of nothing and ends up losing substantial yards as a result. He needs to know when to simply lower his head and avoid a loss on the play.

The other popular criticism of Barkley is that he doesn’t always play to his size meaning he isn’t a physical running back. He chooses to avoid tacklers instead. As shown in his game against San Diego State, Barkley is more than capable of breaking tackles.

Verdict

From top to bottom, the 2018 NFL Draft class boasts plenty of talent, but Saquon Barkley is the crown jewel. He has the ability to be a perennial All-Pro and a potential Hall of Famer if he is placed behind even just an average offensive line. With excellent size and athleticism along with great elusiveness, the former Nittany Lion is as close to a “sure thing” prospect as the draft has to offer.

Pro Comparison

LaDainian Tomlinson

Fit with Raiders

Despite being the top talent in this entire draft, there is a chance he falls to the Raiders at 10 overall due to possibly five quarterbacks being drafted in the top-ten. The Browns and 49ers also paid Carlos Hyde and Jerick McKinnon handsomely this off-season and have plenty of other needs to address making them less likely to take a running back in the early first round.

If he is available at the 10th overall pick, the Raiders must consider taking him due to his immense talent. He would pair nicely with Marshawn Lynch in 2018 giving the Silver and Black the most lethal backfield in the NFL.

“Beastmode” will be a free agent next off-season and the Raiders would already have their new franchise running back in Barkley. He would be more than ready to take over full time duties, especially after learning under Lynch for a year.