There is no debate as to the quality of the player, but the debate rages on as to where Saquon Barkley was taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. Should a running back ever go off the board at No. 2? The Giants said yes two years ago. Based on positional value, evidence a serviceable player can be found in later rounds, historical data regarding durability and span of careers, some analytics say no.
Barkley was a terror as a rookie, but a high ankle sprain in 2019 made it a far more subdued second season, though he did manage to cobble together 1,003 rushing yards. The magnificence of his body and skill set cannot be questioned, and the new offensive brain trust, led by coordinator Jason Garrett and supported by offensive line coach Marc Colombo, ensures Barkley will remain the centerpiece of the attack. Did you see how Garrett and Colombo operated with the Cowboys? Sub Barkley for Ezekiel Elliott (minus the superior Dallas offensive line, though) and away we go.
The Giants do not figure to have much interest in adding a running back in this year’s draft. Perhaps they are motivated on the third day, in rounds 4-7. Heck, maybe they stay local and take a shot on Pete Guerriero, who tore it up at Monmouth. He is from Lyndhurst, N.J., and could probably walk to the Giants’ facility.
Any running back listed behind Barkley on the depth chart is basically around for insurance — Barkley did miss three games last season. Ask Wayne Gallman about that. He is still around, despite falling out of favor with the Pat Shurmur regime. Joe Judge is promising clean-slate do-overs for everyone and that should help Gallman reassert himself.
He will be in for a roster battle with Dion Lewis, a 29-year-old and 10-year veteran acquired in free agency. Lewis did some good things for the Patriots when Judge was in New England and has the look and feel of a perfect complement to Barkley, considering Lewis is well-versed in waiting his turn and taking advantage of an opportunity when it arises.
The other running back on the roster, Eli Penny, was re-signed and is a fullback and blocker and unlikely to have the ball in his hands much, if at all.