Saquon Barkley Says Odell Beckham Began Mentoring Him Before 2018 NFL Draft

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2018

Commissioner Roger Goodell presents Penn State's Saquon Barkley with his New York Giants jersey during the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Rookie running back Saquon Barkley is now teammates with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but it turns out that Barkley had built a relationship with OBJ before the New York Giants drafted him.

In an interview with NJ.com's Matt Lombardo, Barkley discussed working out with and receiving advice from Beckham leading up to the 2018 NFL draft:

"Odell and I got a lot closer since the draft. It was great meeting him. Odell was just being Odell. He's one of the most electrifying players in the NFL, if not the best wide receiver in the NFL. He saw who I was from college, and we just started working out.

"Since then, he started giving me tips. He gave me a lot of tips on how to do it and how not to do it. He's done a little bit of both. Everyone has that. He has four-to-five years in his career. He's seen it all. I look forward to our career together and obviously our friendship growing even more."

New York took Barkley with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NFL draft after a standout collegiate career at Penn State.

There was some chatter prior to the draft about the G-Men possibly taking a quarterback to learn under Eli Manning, but they instead decided to nab perhaps the biggest immediate impact player available.

Barkley told Lombardo that he and Beckham often discussed the possibility of the Giants taking him during the build toward the draft: "We talked about it. We talked the Giants drafting me into existence. When I used to hang out with Odell, I'd tell him; 'I'm going to be a Giant, I want to be a Giant, I want to be a part of that team.'"

While Beckham was limited to just four games last season due to injury, few wideouts have been as productive as him since entering the league in 2014.

In each of his first three NFL seasons, Beckham registered at least 90 receptions, 1,300 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns. He was named to three Pro Bowls during that time as well.

Barkley has a great appreciation for Beckham and believes they can combine to do some great things in 2018 and beyond:

"Odell's a very special player. He's a very special person. That's the biggest thing about Odell, he's a very special person. The things he does, and the way he prepares is really admirable.

"I do believe that we can have an impact on this league. But, when I say 'we,' it's never just Odell and me. It's not just the Saquon and Odell duo. It's not the Saquon show. That wide receiving corps around Odell is extremely talented. You have a great quarterback. You have a great stable of running backs."

After making the playoffs in 2016, the Giants struggled last season to the tune of a 3-13 record.

Even so, there is hope for a quick turnaround. With a talented defense, a revamped offensive line and arguably one of the most talented running backs in the NFL on board, New York is a strong candidate to go from worst to first next season.

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