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‘Hey Rookie’ Finale Chronicles Saquon Barkley’s NFL Draft Experience

“It’s crazy because it’s actually here. Not only the last four months, but my entire life.”

Saquon Barkley’s first words in the final episode of ESPN’s “Hey Rookie: Welcome To The NFL” told the entire story, as the episode chronicled his experience of being the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The episode began with Bradley Chubb and his entourage in their hotel two days before the first round of the NFL Draft. While Chubb was distributing 30 NFL Draft tickets and green room passes to his family, No. 26’s hands were a little bit more full, as he was welcoming his first child into the world.

Jada Claire Barkley was born on April 24, and Barkley returned to his hotel in Texas to congratulations from his entire family. As he shared during the episode, Barkley’s daughter was actually born ten days later than her expected due date of April 14. The stars aligned for Barkley, as her late arrival created a magical week for himself and his family.

“The timing was perfect,” he said. “I got to see the birth of my child and live my dream [in the same week]. You can’t write a better story than this one.”

The newest New York Giant was surprised by how alert his daughter was and noticed that she had a “Barkley nose.” Barkley couldn’t help but smile as he shared how he fell in love with baby Jada as soon as he held her for the first time in one of the most heartwarming moments of the episode.

Once the baby business wrapped up, it was all business for the show’s two subjects as the NFL Draft was just hours away. Barkley saw the inside of his snazzy suit jacket for the first time as he got ready in his hotel room. He loved seeing his jacket and proudly showed it off on the red carpet, but his reaction to his socks for the evening was a lot louder.

Barkley’s custom-embroidered socks featured his daughter’s monogram and was nearly moved to tears when he first saw them. Once he was dressed for the night, No. 26 started asking the important questions about the draft procedure.

He asked if he was allowed to hug his mom after his name was called by commissioner Roger Goodell. The answer to that question was yes, but he was only allowed to hug his mother and father before going out on stage to greet the commissioner. Ever-rebellious, Barkley hugged his parents and James Franklin once the Giants’ pick was made official.

Speaking of the Giants, Barkley found out that he was returning home to play football just seconds after Baker Mayfield was officially announced as the top pick in the draft. Head coach Pat Shurmur made the call that brought Barkley to New York, and ESPN’s cameras gave viewers a glimpse of what was said on that phone call. The first thing Barkley told his new head coach was a promise not to let him down.

“We know you won’t,” Shurmur responded. “That’s why we’re picking you. This is the first of many great days for you as a Giant. We can’t wait to get you up here and get you going.”

The show didn’t feature much post-draft content from either player, but it did conclude with Barkley and girlfriend Anna Congdon nurturing their newborn daughter three days after the NFL Draft. The quiet, relaxed atmosphere at home where Barkley and Congdon discussed the process of naming their baby was a stark contrast from the whirlwind No. 26 saw throughout the offseason.

One final scene of Chubb and Barkley sharing congratulations backstage at the NFL Draft wrapped up the Saquon Barkley Show featuring Bradley Chubb. The two agreed to swap jerseys when they played against each other. Although the Giants and Broncos don’t meet next season, the two will participate in one of the league’s most popular traditions once they do finally square off.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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