Saquon Barkley – Penn State
RB 5’11” 223 lbs
I have seen a smattering of pushback about the Barkley hype-train, but to me, he’s the real deal. There’s never one-hundred percent certainty about a prospect’s future success, but Saquon Barkley looks elite.
At first glance, Barkley seems to have everything you could possibly want in a running back. He has better than average vision, often seeking a cutback lane that barely exists and turning it into a huge chunk-gain. Barkley can run with power and balance, driving his legs to grind out extra yards, or he can use his elite burst and speed to hit a homerun any time the defense lets its guard down. Perhaps Barkley’s most relevant trait from a fantasy perspective is his pass-catching; it’s possible that he’s the best receiver in the draft, regardless of position. Whether gaining 35 extra yards on a shovel pass, or lining up split wide, Barkley has the chops of a receiver combined with the mentality of an elusive running back.
One thing that stands out in Barkley’s tape is his patience; it’s the element of his game that leads to him routinely being compared to Le’veon Bell. However, this patience is also Barkley’s greatest weakness; there can be a fine line between patience and indecision. The Penn State offensive line collapsed often in 2017, leaving Barkley to try to create yards out of thin air. Unfortunately, he tended to dance in the backfield after defensive penetration while looking for the splash play. This led to many instances of Barkley losing 2 or 3 yards instead of plowing ahead for a yard gain.
Saquon Barkley is not perfect, but he’s the best player in the 2018 class, and it’s not that close.