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Giants 2018 draft: Saquon Barkley selected No. 2 overall

Gettleman, Giants show their love for Penn State running back was real

2018 NFL Draft Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The New York Giants have selected Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

After months of speculation that the Giants could target a quarterback with the second overall pick, or trade down for a bounty of additional draft choices, the Giants simply stayed put and selected the player many believe is the best in this draft class.

Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman had repeatedly heaped praise upon Barkley during the run-up to the draft, leading some to believe that was a smokescreen to hide the team’s true intentions. Not so.

“He’s a tremendous talent. You put the film on of a defensive guy and if they’re playing Penn State, then I’m watching Saquon,” Gettleman said during his pre-draft press conference last week. “He’s one of those guys that my mother could have scouted. She could have figured that one out.”

In the Barkley prospect profile that ran earlier Thursday, Chris wrote:

“It is a mistake to view Barkley as just a running back. He is more aptly thought of as an offensive weapon that happens to spend most of his time lining up in the backfield. He is frequently called the “best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson,” but his game is much more reminiscent of Marshall Faulk or LaDainian Tomlinson as a player who is not only a dangerous running back, but also a major factor as a receiver.

He isn’t just a running back who can turn daylight into a big play, but a player who can make game-breaking plays contribute as a receiver, help the quarterback as a pass protector, and generate “hidden yardage” as a returner.

Barkley should be a fit in any modern NFL offense, and given how often Pat Shurmur uses his backs as pass catchers -- and Barkley’s ability in a zone running scheme, which Shurmur ran more than any other team in the NFL last year -- he is a natural fit.

No running back has gone No. 2 overall since Reggie Bush was selected by the New Orleans Saints in 2006. Trent Richardson went to the Cleveland Browns, then coached by now-Giants coach Pat Shurmur, No. 3 overall in 2012.

Gettleman didn’t want to hear anything about running backs not having enough value to be selected second overall.

“You know what I say about that. It is a crock. At the end of the day, a great player is a great player. He is a touchdown maker. He is a threat to take it to the house every time he gets his hands on the ball,” Gettleman said. “I think a lot of that stuff is nonsense. I think it is someone who had decided to get into the analytics of it and went through whatever. Jonathan Stewart is in his 10th year and he has not lost anything. I don’t believe in that. I don’t care who you take, they can all get hurt.”

See our 2018 Giants Draft Hub Page for all of our coverage of the draft. Our prospect profiles can be found here. Our 2-axis Big Board is a great way to follow along with which players are still available as the draft progresses, and where we believe the value is.

More about Barkley

Here is what GM Dave Gettleman told reporters about not taking a quarterback.

“If you have to try to make yourself fall in love with a player, it is wrong. You will never be happy with the pick” he said. “At the end of the day, you shouldn’t have to talk yourself into a guy. If you talk yourself into a guy, you are making a mistake.”

Gettleman admitted Thursday night that the Giants had calls about trading the No. 2 pick, but obviously chose not to.

“They went Mayfield, we were taking Saquon. It’s that simple,” Gettleman said.

The highest grade a scout can give a player is a 9.0. Gettleman told Bob Papa, Carl Banks and David Diehl on that Barkley is only the second player he has ever given a 9.0 — with the other being Peyton Manning.

“There isn’t anything he lacks,” Gettleman said. “He’s been touched by the hand of God.”

Mike Mayock of NFL Network had this to say about the selection of Barkley:

“Powerful. His lower body is unbelievable. At 233 pounds, he runs a 4.4 40. Talk about a powerful man. The only thing you can possibly say on the negative side is he tries to make too many big runs. The New York Giants just got better because of this guy.”

Giants’ draft picks

The Giants have three selection on Day 2, 34th, 66th and 69th. Their complete list of selections is below.

  • Round 1 (No. 2 overall) Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
  • Round 2 (No. 34)
  • Round 3 (No. 66)
  • Round 3 (No. 69)
  • Round 4 (No. 108)
  • Round 5 (No. 139)

You can watch Rounds 2 and 3 Friday night beginning at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN and NFL Network.

Grade the pick

Earlier today, SB Nation said that selecting Barkley at No. 2 would be the “worst-case scenario” for the Giants. Do you agree? Disagree? Vote in the poll below and let us know how you feel about the selection.


What grade would you give the Giants’ Round 1 selection?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    (2718 votes)
  • 16%
    (652 votes)
  • 6%
    (251 votes)
  • 2%
    (105 votes)
  • 4%
    (194 votes)
3920 votes total Vote Now