- Kevin Lidlow
Jets Scouting Report: Saquon Barkley
The best overall prospect in the draft falling to the New York Jets at 6? It might sound crazy but with the latest mock drafts, it could be a possibility that the Jets could get Saquon Barkley. The Jets haven’t had a thousand yard rusher since Chris Ivory in 2015, and haven’t had a consistent running back since the great Curtis Martin. Barkley knows what it’s like because he is a Jets fan and has watched this team for years. The last time the Jets drafted a running back in the first round was Blair Thomas in 1990, and other than a quarterback, I would be very excited if they steal Barkley with the 6th pick because this kid is a complete back with no off the field issues. It sounds too good to be true but if you watched his interviews you can see for yourself.
At 5”11’ 215 pounds, the junior can power clean 405 pounds (a Penn State record). Built like a power back in modern era, he can display a combination of power and agility something that Elliott or Fournette don’t have. We have seen those two have a huge impact in the NFL with their respected teams and Barkley could have the same fate. Barkley can hit the holes with incredible balance, can pivot, and get to full speed very quickly. Once he gets to the open field, he can be a big threat with the speed he has, a home run runner is something that the Jets lacked in recent years. He can also be very active in the passing game, and his ability to build on that can really boost his draft stock.
One of his best games during the 2017 season was against Iowa in week 4 where he racked up 40 touches for 305 yards and a touchdown in a game where he was heavily featured in both the run game and pass game. Iowa brought the pressure for majority of the game, so Barkley provided the check down when needed and his YAC (Yards after catch) helped Penn State extend their drive. He simply does not give up on a play, for example; in the third quarter of the Iowa game, they ran a outside zone run on the left and Barkley somehow stayed inbounds with two Iowa players trapping him and kept his feet going in which he turned the play into a bg run.
Saquon Barkley is a complete back and is arguably the best prospect in this years draft. It may seem impossible for him to fall at six, but crazier things have happened before. Mike Maccagnan built a reputation of taking the best player in the draft and that’s what he has done, and if they get Cousins and Barkley, that would be a scary duo. Running backs have become noticeable after Elliott and Fournette making a big impact in the NFL and Barkley could be another one to follow that.