Saquon Barkley – RB – Penn State
by David Syvertsen, Senior Draft Analyst
Every draft class has their respective top prospects, the players that are selected in the top 3-5 spots. Every now and then, however, a rare player arises that can rightfully be considered the top prospect we have seen in years. They don’t come around often but when they do, you just know. Saquon Barkley is that prospect. The third year junior is off to as hot a start as any player in the nation, at any position. He has a top-level combination of power, agility, speed, and awareness.
Two things stand out the most among the high grades across his entire scouting report. His ability to alter his direction while moving at full speed with one simple step, at 230 pounds, rivals some of the best I’ve ever seen including backs that weight 50 pounds less than him. He can rely on downhill, straight ahead power when the situation asks for it. His pad level and lower body strength can constantly gain the extra tough yards. However when he is let loose in space, he can make a 90 degree turn by planting that food and just exploding. With defenders trying to figure out how to get him down to the ground, that combination of agility and scary-level power will create countless yards after contact. What may be under-appreciated or overlooked about Barkley is the natural, easy awareness and reactions to the defense that stem from outstanding vision. He can forecast a defender’s intentions and change his approach on the fly as well as anyone I have ever scouted.
Both the physical and mental traits to Barkley’s versatile game can get him in the #1 overall pick discussion if a team in that spot does not need a quarterback. He is a franchise-changer week 1 in his NFL career.