Saquon Barkley Rumors: Giants View RB as Near-Perfect Prospect in 2018 NFL Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2018

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30:  Saquon Barkley #26 of Penn State Nittany Lions runs with the ball against the Washington Huskies during the Playstation Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 30, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

The New York Giants reportedly believe former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is a "near-perfect prospect" and that "he's a better player than Ezekiel Elliott," according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

"I thought all along this is the guy [Giants general manager Dave Gettleman] wants," an NFL scout who knows Gettleman told Schwartz. "And he might get him, if Cleveland is dumb enough not to take him at No. 1."

Comparing Barkley to Elliott, who has 2,614 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground in just 25 career games, is high praise. But the Giants reportedly believe Barkley "is a far superior pass-catcher" who has "absolutely no character issues or concerns," per Schwartz.

As for New York's other options with the No. 2 overall pick, Schwartz reported "it still does not appear likely" the team will select a quarterback. He added that former NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb is in the mix but that former Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson will not be the choice.

"I don't think Dave will take a quarterback. I don't see it. I could see Chubb putting on that gold jacket. I could see Nelson putting on that gold jacket. Barkley, no question," the scout told Schwartz, referencing Gettleman's standard that the No. 2 pick should be a player who projects to be a Hall of Famer. "If you have a crystal ball and say, 'This guy is gonna be an annual All-Pro and make it to the Hall of Fame,' Barkley would be the No. 1 guy."

Barkley certainly indicated as much during his college career, rushing for 3,843 yards and 43 touchdowns in three seasons while adding 102 receptions for 1,195 yards and another eight scores.

Still, the Giants have three routes to consider at No. 2:

  • They could draft a quarterback to groom behind Eli Manning.
  • They could take the best player on their board regardless of position, which may be a talent like Barkley or Chubb.
  • They could trade the pick to a quarterback-needy team and accumulate a treasure chest of draft assets.

If the Giants are focused on Barkley, they likely won't mind any reports that they aren't interested in a quarterback at No. 2. That may give the indication to quarterback-needy teams that New York is open for business and could result in a bidding war for the pick.

But if the Giants stay put, the decision could come down to whether the team believes it can add a franchise cornerstone at quarterback or thinks a player like Barkley has more long-term upside.