Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants is conspicuously absent from a list recently published by Pro Football Focus of the best 50 players entering the 2020 NFL season.
How is that possible?
Anyone with eyes understands that Barkley is one of the best players in the game. At least top 50, if not top 30.
The only explanation is that the PFF50 as they call it has to be based purely on grades and advanced statistics, and that this comes after a year in which Barkley’s play was impacted by a high ankle sprain.
Here is PFF’s description of how it arrived at its top 50.
The PFF50 is a product of evaluating every player on every play of each NFL season to produce PFF’s unrivaled database of stats, grades and information. This list is not about how valuable players are, but rather about how good they are, regardless of position. A guard, cornerback, receiver or even a running back has just as good a chance to appear on this list as a quarterback does.
We started from the standpoint of a multiyear look at their grading before making adjustments based on situation, relevant injuries and new circumstances that could change a player’s future outlook. Sample size was factored in as well as any suggestion of decline from players reaching the latter stages of their careers.
Yes, Barkley missed three games in 2019. Yes, his per game production dropped from 126.2 total yards to 110.2. Yes, his per carry average dipped from 5.0 to 4.6.
Based solely on 2019 I can almost understand not listing Barkley as one of the top 101 players from that given season.
Apologies to Nick Chubb, who is on the PFF50 list, and Derrick Henry and Austin Ekeler, who are on the top 101 list, but I’m taking Barkley over either of them.