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NFL Draft 2018, Round 1 grades: Mel Kiper, others weigh in on Saquon Barkley selection

Some love the move, some hate it

2018 NFL Draft Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

NFL Draft grades. They’re silly because these players have done nothing for their teams yet, but everybody does them. Here are a few of the grades given to the New York Giants’ selection of Saquon Barkley second overall in Thursday’s opening round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

NFL draft grades 2018: Analysis of every round 1 pick by team |
Forget finding Eli Manning’s replacement at quarterback—whoever that is might not play for another three years. This Giants club two years ago made the postseason. New GM Dave Gettleman was brought in to build on a ready-now team, and a once-in-a-generation running back can help that. The Giants now have the dynamic ballcarrier to redefine what has lately been an atrocious ground game. New head coach Pat Shurmur did a great job in Minnesota marrying his running game and passing game. Barkley can help in both areas, and an erudite QB like Manning can check him in and out of the best plays accordingly.


2018 NFL Draft: Round 1 grades for picks 1 through 32, analysis for each -
2. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Grade: C+

I like the player and his skills, but value of position is a major concern in a deep draft of backs.

2018 NFL draft first round winners, losers - Mel Kiper picks question marks from Round 1
New York Giants

You should know my defining strategy if I were an NFL general manager: I'd NEVER take a running back in Round 1. Seriously. There's value on Day 2. So, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is a great player -- he's my No. 1 prospect in this class -- but I wouldn't have picked him at No. 2. Especially when Eli Manning is 37 years old, and there's no real answer behind him. Sam Darnold was on the board, and that's who I would have picked. Now watch Barkley win offensive rookie of the year ...

2018 NFL Draft: Day 1 quick-snap grades for all 32 teams -
New York Giants

Draft picks: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley (No. 2 overall).

Day 1 grade: A-

The skinny: Saquon Barkley was the No. 1 prospect on many teams' boards, and they found him available at No. 2. I think Bradley Chubb might prove to be a better investment because of the attrition at the running back spot. But there's no blaming them for claiming Barkley's talent.

NFL Draft 2018: Round 1 Grades for Every Pick | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights
Bottom line: Barkley will make the Giants better immediately, take pressure off Eli Manning and help the work-in-progress offensive line find itself. But while Barkley is more of a Todd Gurley than a Richardson, it’s important to note that Pat Shurmur coached Richardson to a grinding 3.6-yard-per-carry season in 2012, and that Gurley proved in 2016 that even a great running back can only do so much when the system around him goes kablooey. If Manning’s play continues to slip, the line doesn’t jell or the defense doesn’t rebound quickly, the Giants will wish they went in a different direction with this pick.

The Giants could have addressed harder-to-fill needs here. It’s hard to quibble with the selection of a player as good (and exciting) as Barkley. But quibbling is what draft grades are all about.

Grade: B-minus