New York Giants fans should feel free to dream big about Saquon Barkley. Their new running back certainly has grand designs for his career.
Dave Gettleman clearly gave Giants fans permission to place high expectations on Saquon Barkley when he chose to make him the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Fortunately for New York fans, they won’t be placing any pressure on their young running back that he doesn’t already put on himself.
Barkley makes no secret of his desire to one day join the NFL Hall of Fame. He recently told reporters that he’s prepared to “work (his) butt off to get a gold jacket.” That’s just the sort of bravado that should endear him to Giants fans desperate for a return to the playoffs.
The former Penn State running back joins a very intriguing offense. There are obviously questions about Eli Manning’s ability to play quarterback at a high level, but the other skill positions all boast serious talents. Odell Beckham Jr. might be the most dangerous wide receiver in the NFL if he’s healthy. Evan Ingram is quickly becoming one of the best young pass-catching tight ends in the game. If Manning can make the passing game work, there should be a lot of room for Barkley to run with the football.
Don’t forget that Gettleman also spent a high second-round pick to add Will Hernandez to his offensive line. He will work alongside big-money free agent left tackle Nate Solder to hopefully form an excellent offensive line for the Giants. The team still has some questions on the right side of the line, but it’s at least possible Ereck Flowers could finally fulfill his full potential at right tackle.
Ideally, the Giants would like to shift their focus towards a more ground based attack. That’s obviously the style of play Gettleman is most comfortable with and his draft only reinforces the idea that he’s moving New York in that direction. That might not fit with the way the NFL seems to be headed, but it’s only going to add to Barkley’s ability to contribute as a rookie.
In some ways, the offensive line is the perfect microcosm for how the Giants season could go. There are reasons for hope and there are also reasons for serious concern. Barkley could be the teams’ biggest reason to hope for success in 2018.