To this day and even after a great season from the rookie running back, people are still talking about maybe the New York Giants got it wrong by picking Saquon Barkley over quarterback Sam Darnold.
Both the Giants and Jets had a losing season so that doesn’t matter much. Let’s take a look at the stats.
Darnold, 21, had a 77.6 quarterback rating this season with a total of 2,865 yards, 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He also rushed for 138 yards and had one rushing touchdown. Barkley, 21, had 1,307 rushing yard, 11 rushing touchdowns and zero fumbles. Receiving wise, Barkley had 721 yards and four touchdowns.
Both Darnold and Barkley have an inadequate offensive line. Darnold was sacked 30 times in 13 games and Giants’ Eli Manning was sacked 47 times, the most in one season of his career.
With that being said, Giants drafted the Penn State running back for that reason – the offensive line. For 2018, the Giants offensive line was ranked 21st in the league per Pro Football Focus.
“I know everyone is saying a quarterback should have been taken before me,” Barkley said on Rapsheet & friends podcast.
“And you know, they’re not wrong. That’s their opinion. They can have their opinion. But some people believe I should have been taken at that pick. And they’re not wrong, either. They can have that opinion.”
The last time the Giants had a star running back was Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, who won the Super Bowl in 2008 and 2012. Giants all-time rush leader is Tiki Barber who was signed in 1997 and didn’t get to see his first 1,000+ rushing yard season until the year 2000.
“I got to go out there and try to have a success the best way that I can…not to prove anybody else right or wrong.”
I think the pick was right. It’s not everyday you get a dynamic running back who can make the plays and get the yards with an offensive line that allowed 47 sacks. The Giants will have the sixth pick in the 2019 NFL draft and we’ve seen throughout history, you don’t have to use your first round pick to get a future franchise quarterback.