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Saquon Barkley Puts Together A Rookie Season For The Ages

Many New York Giants fans were skeptical about selecting Saquon Barkley instead of a quarterback like Sam Darnold with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft. As soon as the Penn State product took the field for his NFL debut, however, everyone knew they were watching something special unfold.

Despite the inconsistency of New York’s offensive line, Barkley consistently made jaw-dropping plays throughout the season. He managed to avoid several defenders and tightrope the sideline for his first career score in his NFL debut against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Barkley only picked up more steam following his 128-yard debut. He gained at least 100 yards from scrimmage in 12 of his first 13 games, torching opposing defenses on the ground and through the air as a receiver. Barkley’s production tailed off a bit down the stretch, but he finished on a high note by posting 142 yards and a touchdown against a stout Dallas defense.

With this performance, No. 26 rewrote the record books in many different ways. His versatility earned him the most receptions by a rookie running back, passing Reggie Bush with his 89th of the year. Additionally, Barkley became one of three players in NFL history to have more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage. The others? Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and former Indianapolis Colt Edgerrin James.

An incredible diving 2-yard touchdown on Sunday gave the second overall pick his 11th rushing score of the year, a Giants rookie record as well. He had four more receiving on the season, finishing with the third-most touchdowns of any running back in the entire league.

Barkley’s best game of the year may have come at home against the Philadelphia Eagles. He torched the Philadelphia defense for 229 total yards and a score. While it may not have had led to a victory, he showed he’s capable of carrying an offense despite subpar quarterback play.

Although the Giants stumbled to a 5-11 record, they definitely have a lot to look forward to with Saquon Barkley in the backfield. A slow start to the season overshadowed a lethal Barkley-Odell Beckham Jr. duo.

Even if the G-Men decide to move on from Eli Manning and draft a young quarterback this year, they can always rely on Barkley to break loose for a huge gain at any given moment.

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About the Author

Austin Smith

Austin Smith is a junior broadcast journalism major. He grew up in New Jersey and is a writer for Onward State. He specializes in football, basketball, and the New York Knicks.

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