NFL Draft Prospect Breakdown: Saquon Barkley

Other Breakdowns

Quenton Nelson – 93/100
Tremaine Edmunds – 89/100
Bradley Chubb
– 89/100
Derwin James – 88/100
Roquan Smith – 87/100
Minkah Fitzpatrick – 87/100
Harold Landry – 85/100
Rashaan Evans – 84/100
Will Hernandez – 84/100
Baker Mayfield
 – 84/100
Sam Darnold – 83/100
Josh Rosen – 83/100
Lamar Jackson – 82/100
Marcus Davenport – 82/100
Calvin Ridley – 81/100
Josh Allen – 77/100
Leighton Vander Esch – 77/100

Stats, Awards, and Accolades

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*All Stats via sports-reference.com*

Class: Senior
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 233 lbs
Awards & Accolades: Consensus All-American (2017), 2x Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year (2016 & 2017), 2x First-team All-Big Ten (2016 & 2017), Second-team All-Big Ten (2015), Freshman All-American (2015), Mr. Pennsylvania Football (2014)

Barkley ranked first in the Big Ten in touchdowns from scrimmage in 2016 and 2017, and finished top ten in the country both years as well. He led the conference in kickoff return yards per return and kickoff return touchdowns. He ranked in the top four percent of running backs at the combine in both his 40-yard dash time and his bench press. Saquon Barkley is a combination of power and speed the likes of which we rarely see.

For this article, I went back and rewatched four of Saquon’s games from this season: Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio State. Those teams ranked 15th, 26th, 10th, and 8th in Bill Connely’s defensive S&P+ metric for the 2017 season, so I feel watching these games will give me a good read of how Barkley will fare against elite defenses.

Pros

Explosive runner
Very quick
Home run hitter capability
Great size
Explosive to the hole
Yards after contact
Superb vision
Elusive
Can be a power back when he needs to be
Can return kicks
Shiftiness/ability to beat defenders
Great first step
Durable runner
He’s got leaps
Excellent balance
Threat in the passing game
Can play in the slot
Good route runner
Has very good character

Cons

Inconsistent blocker during sophomore year, although has improved
Can be contained by speedy defensive ends
Shies away from being hit
Could use weight more effectively
Propensity for negative yardage plays

Grades

Elusiveness – 10/10
Balance – 9.5/10
Vision – 8.5/10
Burst – 10/10
Speed – 9/10
Power – 8.5/10
Receiving – 9.5/10

Scheme Fits

Zone – 10/10
Power – 8.5/10
Gap – 8/10

Overall Grade: 92/100

A reminder, this where I think he should go, not where he will go, these rankings also DO NOT take into account positional importance

90+ Superstar
85+ Elite Player (Top Ten)
80+ First Round Talent
77+ Second Round Talent
74+ Third Round Talent
66+ Third Day Talent (Rounds 4-7)

10/10 Rating – Best in the class or close to it
7.5/10 Rating – Average
5/10 Rating – Poor

Saquon Barkley is not quite the highest rated player in my series of prospect breakdowns, although it was very close between him and Nelson. Barkley has an incredible combination of quickness and power that is very rare, and he has the potential to be one of the best running backs of the decade. He ran a 4.4 40 at over 230 pounds, an incredible number for his size. I highly doubt Barkley will go #1 or #2 overall, the Browns will probably take the quarterback of their dreams there, but he seems like a lock to go in the top six, maybe higher if the Browns decide to stay at #4 with their second first-round pick. Barkley has everything you want in a running back, plus he can return kicks, play in the slot, he even threw for a touchdown against Indiana this year.

Barkley could use his size a little better, and sometimes he does shy away a little from taking hits (but wouldn’t we all), however the positives vastly outway the negatives. This is one of only two 90+ scores I’ve given out this year. Barkey has good bend, good balance, great cutting ability, and some of the best acceleration I have seen. Specifically, his tape against Iowa is the best I’ve seen this year, and it came against a top 20 defense. Barkley will be #2 on my big board.

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