Saquon Barkley ended any doubt who the best player in the 2018 NFL Draft was with his combine performance this week. We already knew what the Penn State product could do on the field, but the eye-popping numbers he put up during his workout in Indianapolis solidified his spot at the top of this class.
Barkley was the story of Friday’s workouts, as he absolutely tore up the field. He posted 29 bench press reps, a 4.40 40-yard dash (and a 4.42 in which he actually stumbled), a 10-yard split of 1.54 and a 41-inch vertical leap. One tweet put those numbers in perspective:
Read that again, I’ll wait.
Barkley measured in at 6′ and 233 pounds, and still managed to run an official time in the 40. That was the fastest time for a player weighing that much since Calvin Johnson ran a 4.35 at 239 pounds in 2007. Yeah, we’re in Calvin Johnson territory here.
There’s another crazy comparison to be made with his other numbers. Only one player before Barkley had ever posted a 40-plus inch vertical leap and 29-plus bench reps: 2017 No. 1 pick Myles Garrett, who was considered an absolute freak of an athlete.
Of course, football isn’t just about being a fantastic athlete. But the thing is, we already know what Barkley can do on the field. He straight up dominated college football for the last two seasons.
As a sophomore in 2016 he rushed for 1,496 yards on 272 carries (5.5 yards per carry) with 18 touchdowns, while adding 402 yards and four touchdowns on 28 receptions (14.4 yards per catch). As a junior in 2017 he rushed for 1,271 yards on 217 carries (5.9 yards per carry) and 18 touchdowns, while adding 632 yards and three touchdowns on 54 receptions (11.7 yards per catch). Oh, and he returned two kicks for touchdowns in 2017 as well.
Quite frankly, his numbers don’t even do justice to how consistently freaking good he was. Don’t believe me? Watch:
He’s one of the rare running backs who absolutely does deserve consideration with the top pick. There’s absolutely no reason he should get past the Cleveland Browns’ second first-round pick at No. 4.
I know, we’re supposed to be long past the era where running backs are incredibly valuable to an offense. But if you truly think that, ask the Dallas Cowboys what life is like without Ezekiel Elliott, or talk to the Los Angeles Rams if they think Todd Gurley is worth the contract they’ll be giving him soon.
Barkley is that kind of franchise-changing player who is so versatile out of the backfield that whoever passes on him will look foolish.
This should be easy. I get that some teams near the top need quarterbacks, so they can’t afford to take a running back. But everyone else should be falling all over themselves to take Saquon Barkley. He’s just that good.