James Franklin: Draft Prospect Saquon Barkley 'Bigger and Faster Marshall Faulk'

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2018

Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) looks for room to run against the USC Trojans during the first half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Doug Benc)
Doug Benc/Associated Press

As Saquon Barkley waits to see what his future holds at the 2018 NFL draft on Thursday night, the comparisons just keep coming for the former Penn State Nittany Lions star.

Hours before the draft, Penn State coach James Franklin, via SiriusXM NFL Radio, said Barkley is the best running back to enter the draft in more than a decade and called him a "bigger and faster Marshall Faulk":

While most coaches are going to hype their guys up, there is some validity to his high praise. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranks Barkley as the top prospect in this year's draft and has previously predicted that he will be better than Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

There's no denying Barkley owns the size advantage over Faulk—the tale of the tape says it all. Faulk measured in at 5'10" and 211 pounds, while Barkley is just a bit bigger at 6'0" and 233 pounds. Even at that size, the former Nittany Lion recorded a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at the combine.

And there's no questioning his playmaking skills.

In three seasons at State College, Barkley piled up 3,843 rushing yards, 1,195 receiving yards and 54 total (passing, rushing, receiving and kick return) touchdowns.

The No. 2 overall pick out of San Diego State in 1994, Faulk went on to have a Hall of Fame career. He had 12,279 rushing yards, 6,875 receiving yards and 136 total touchdowns. Those numbers helped him pile up the accolades: NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, three-time Offensive Player of the Year, seven-time Pro Bowler, three-time First Team All-Pro, 2000 NFL MVP and Super Bowl champion.

If Franklin is right and Barkley has a career like Faulk, whatever team drafts the running back is going to be thrilled.

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