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2018 Prospect Primer: RB Saquon Barkley

Posted Feb 9, 2018

The Penn State running back is regarded by many as the top prospect in this year's draft class and is projected to go top five in nearly every mock draft so far.

Junior Saquon Barkley has recorded 1,000+ yard seasons in each of his three seasons at Penn State. As a sophomore, he won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year because of his 1,496 rushing yards on 272 attempts and 18 touchdowns that season. He capped it off by running for 204 yards and two touchdowns against USC in the Rose Bowl.


His junior season, his running yardage was down slightly, but for the record, he didn’t get as many carries and was still just as productive scoring-wise. He rushed for 1,271 yards on 217 carries, again scoring 18 touchdowns in his last collegiate season.

His freshman year was nothing to snuff at, either. He set the school record for most rushing yards by a freshman with 1,076 yards on 182 carries and seven touchdowns. He added 20 receptions for 161 yards and a receiving touchdown as well to earn him Freshman All-America and second-team All-Big Ten honors.

Experts point to his shiftiness and footwork as the reason he is so successful. He can juke, change direction and stop on a dime to evade tacklers. He is a receiving threat and can separate himself from defenders on routes effectively, according to NFL.com, who offered an NFL comparison to Barry Sanders for Barkley.

It seems there is some concern about the power Barkley possesses. His broken tackle numbers at Penn State leave something to be desired and NFL.com deduces that he will need to develop more as a north/south runner to be successful as a pro.

Regardless of any concern, Barkley is regarded as the best prospect in the draft by some and is projected to go in the top five in most mock drafts. Fun fact: Barkley is signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports and is the third top-ranked running back prospect in the last four years to sign with the representation agency.

NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has Barkley going second overall in the 2018 NFL Draft to the New York Giants.