At this point last year, New York Giants‘ Saquon Barkley was perceived by many as the top running back in all of football and arguably the best football player in the NFL by some accounts. This was evident by his second-place ranking on Bleacher Report’s Top 10 NFL Players Under 25 Years Old list heading into the 2019 season.
Fresh off of a 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign at the time, the sky appeared to be the limit for the former Penn State standout. However, an injury-riddled sophomore season put a bit of a damper on the running back’s future outlook.
While there is no denying the type of talent Barkley is, it’s clear that his dip in production led to a hit in perception amongst some fans and major media outlets, Bleacher Report in particular.
Barkley Ranks as 13th -Best Player Under 25
Barkley’s 2019 season was limited by an ankle injury that led to him appearing in only 13 games for Big Blue. In return, he saw his statistical output take a fairly drastic hit, rushing for 300+ yard fewer than he had in the previous year, hauling in 39 fewer receptions, and visiting the endzone seven fewer times than in 2018. Still, his late-season surge and visible skillset helped him notch a spot in Bleacher Report’s top 25 players under the age of 25 list.
13. New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley (23)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley undoubtedly suffered a sophomore slump in 2019. The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year wasn’t himself after injuring his ankle early in the season, and he compiled nearly 600 fewer scrimmage yards and barely half as many touchdowns in three fewer games.
But Barkley still managed to go over 1,000 yards on the ground again, and his 4.6 yards-per-attempt average wasn’t shabby considering his health and a lack of offensive support. And we can’t forget that he led the league with 2,028 yards from scrimmage as a 21-year-old rookie.
The Penn State product can dominate, and we can’t ignore his unreal potential as a super-athlete with elite size, speed and vision.
Barkley just turned 23, so there’s little reason to doubt he’ll bounce back with a Pro Bowl-caliber third NFL campaign in 2020.
Barkley Ranks as 5th-Best Non-QB Offensive Player
As we mentioned earlier, heading into the 2019 season, Barkley was perceived by B/R as the second-best player under the age of 25 in all of football, behind only current reigning Super Bowl Champion Patrick Mahomes.
Now, a season later, Barkley sits behind not only Mahomes, but two other quarterbacks (Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson). In fact, he’s not even the top-ranked player at his position, but rather the third, as New Orleans Saints’ Alvin Kamara and Carolina Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey each place ahead of Barkley.
Other offensive players that ranked ahead of Barkley include Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Chris Godwin and Indianapolis Colts all-world guard Quenton Nelson.