Expectations are sky high for New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley as he heads into his fifth professional season.
Barkley burst onto the scene when the Giants added him with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
During his rookie season, Barkley surpassed 2,000 yards from scrimmage, the most of his career. He also recorded 15 total touchdowns, which is also still a career-high.
The Giants incorporated Barkley heavily within the passing game in his first year. He brought in 91 total receptions for 721 yards and four touchdowns.
In the three seasons since his rookie year, Barkley has been plagued by injury. He has played in just 28 games over this stretch and has yet to be healthy for a full regular season.
Throughout these 28 games, Barkley has recorded 1,630 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. He has also brought in 99 receptions for 761 receiving yards, and 4 touchdowns.
The totals that Barkley has reached over the previous three seasons barely surpass his overall performance from his rookie season.
But the 2022 season could be where Barkley can fully regain his footing.
ALL the latest Giants news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Giants newsletter here!
Barkley Named Bounce-Back Candidate
ESPN’s team of writers picked bounce-back candidates for all 32 NFL teams. The Giants’ pick, made by ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, should excite fans.
Raanan offered a realistic outlook for Barkley this upcoming season.
“Barkley looks healthier and better this summer than he has in years. Both coach Brian Daboll and quarterback Daniel Jones used the word ‘explosive’ to describe him this summer. Is expecting rookie year Saquon Barkley realistic? Probably not. But he still has the look of a really good player who is a lot more confident in his body in Year 2 following his torn ACL.”
At times in 2021, it seemed apparent that Barkley was far from 100%. A sprained ankle lingered with him throughout the season, which kept him from reaching his true potential.
On other occasions, Barkley showed legitimate flashes of the player that he was during his rookie season. And he was able to do this while playing behind one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines.
Now, with Barkley nearly two years removed from a torn ACL, he seems to be back on track. From what he has showcased so far, he could be in line for a big year.
Expectations for Barkley in Year 5
As Barkley heads into year five, he could be in line for his best season since his rookie year. The Giants spent the offseason committed to rebuilding their offensive line. And while the depth isn’t great, the starting front is arguably the best that they have had in years.
Barkley will be running behind two of the NFL’s most intriguing young tackles in Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal.
Thomas has shown strong strides in each of his first two seasons. Now heading into year three, he could become one of the best left tackles in the league.
The Giants added right tackle Evan Neal with the seventh overall pick in the 2022 draft. Neal was one of the most dominant tackles in college football history.
Barkley will also be playing in the most modern offense of his career, which should give him the best chance to succeed. Both head coach Brian Daboll, and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka are two of the game’s best offensive minds. If anyone can tap into Barkley’s overall potential, it is them.
This offense as a whole is also now full of talented playmakers. This will help alleviate the pressure put upon Barkley. If all goes to plan, he will have a truly dominant season.