For anyone to still be outraged at this point in the season that the New York Giants took Saquon Barkley over Sam Darnold or any other available QB in the 2018 NFL Draft is ridiculous, and quite honestly, it’s a tired argument. If they had taken a QB with their first pick, Eli Manning would still have been the starting QB in Week 1 and the Giants would then still be lacking a productive RB, which is a position that has been effectively nonexistent for the Giants since they lost Ahmad Bradshaw to free agency after their 2011 Super Bowl season.
Since Barkley’s debut in Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the twenty-one-year-old rookie has been incredibly productive and is turning out to be the only bright spot for this Giants team this season – not veteran QB Eli Manning, not $90 million WR Odell Beckham Jr., but Saquon Barkley thanks to a mix of his outstanding play-making abilities and humble personality. This, above everything else, is why I think it’s insulting to continue to berate management for not drafting a QB; especially since Barkley has played consistently good football while blowing away his prior expectations going into Week 7, namely his 811 yards from scrimmage in 6 games this season – second only to Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley who might be the best RB in the NFL this season.
Saquon Barkley is not the best RB in the NFL at this point in the season; at least not until we see how he finishes his rookie season and how he plays going forward in his future Giants career. So far, he’s been unlike any rookie RB the NFL has seen in the last few years and debuted in Week 1 already playing like a seasoned pro. In fact, Barkley is currently on pace to potentially break Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson’s single-season rookie record for yards from scrimmage (2,212) that was set back in 1983 and having already accumulated 373 receiving yards through his first five games, Barkley is on pace to break Eric Dickerson’s rookie record of 404 receiving yards on Monday night when the Giants matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Barkley currently leads all RBs with 7 runs of 20+ yards and is tied for the most 40+ runs in the NFL with 3.
Barkley is on track to post one of the best rookie RB seasons in NFL history after only six games. I think he deserves a chance to grow and perfect his craft without the unnecessary pressures of being proclaimed “the best.” After all, he’s performing behind a porous offense line, with a QB who gets relatively no protection and a star WR who’s proving to be more of a headache with each passing week.
Barkley’s done his job very effectively under less than optimal conditions, which is why he should continue to progress during his rookie season without having to worry about anything but the game. Will he be Rookie of the Year? He’s got a very good chance, as I don’t know what other rookie is in the headlines as much as Barkley has been for his performances. He’s earned the recognition by his stellar play despite the controversy and turmoil that has engulfed the New York Giants organization this season. His is sadly becoming the only performance worth watching in this circus that the New York Giants have been putting on the field for the last five years.