Todd Gurley Told Saquon Barkley the NFL Will Probably Be 'Easier Than College'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2018

FILE - In this Monday, June 4, 2018, file photo, New York Giants' Saquon Barkley warms-up during practice at the NFL football team's training camp in East Rutherford, N.J. Speed, power, quickness, smarts, good hands. The Penn State product and No. 2 pick overall in the draft has it all. What he needs is knowledge. He has to learn a new playbook for coach Pat Shurmur and then pick up all the little adjustments that turn a college star into one of the NFL’s elite. And it has to be done in roughly four months.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley said he told New York Giants rookie rusher Saquon Barkley the NFL is "probably going to be a lot easier than college."

On Tuesday, Cameron DaSilva of Rams Wire provided comments from Gurley, who's worked out with the second overall pick in the 2018 draft throughout the offseason.

"I told him the NFL is probably going to be a lot easier than college. As far as the schedule, the pound and ground on your body," he said. "Just enjoy it. He's been doing such a great job his whole life. He's just a great person, too, so he's way above his years. He loves the game, so it's good to see a person like that."

Downplaying the NFL's difficulty is becoming more common among young rushers.

Last August, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette called the NFL "easy" after the first preseason game of his rookie campaign.

"It's a lot slower than I really thought," Fournette told James Palmer of NFL.com. "That's how I've been since I first got into the NFL. A lot of people were like, 'It's going to be fast.' But by me playing in the SEC, that kind of helped me a lot. I think, to me, it was really easy."

He stood by those comments in October en route to rushing for 1,040 yards in 2017.

Barkley has already shown he can handle a three-down workload at Penn State. He rushed for 1,271 yards on 217 carries and tallied 54 receptions for 632 yards for the Nittany Lions last season. He accounted for 24 touchdowns (18 rushing, three receiving, two kickoff returns and one throwing) in the process.

He should also benefit from working out alongside Gurley, who led the NFL with 2,093 yards from scrimmage in 2017.

The Giants can work in Barkley slowly because veteran Jonathan Stewart can provide support, but the rookie figures to receive a lion's share of the touches.

Saying the NFL is easier than college is a massive stretch, however, and it probably won't take long for Barkley to find that out—even if Gurley was strictly referring to the physical grind.

Facing the Jacksonville Jaguars, who ranked second in total defense during the 2017 season, in Week 1 is a monumental assignment compared to Akron, which was Penn State's opponent in its opener last year.