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Saquon Barkley ranked NFL’s best RB by league executives

Giants’ star “can generate more big plays than anyone”

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley is the best running back in football. Well, at least according to a consensus of 50 NFL executives he is.

ESPN asked 50 league executives, ranging from coaches to players, to rank the top 10 players at each position for right now. The voters gave their top 10 or 15 players at a position, and ESPN then compiled the rankings based on the number of top 10 votes. In the case of a tie, ESPN isolated the players into a singular matchup and acquired additional voting and input.

The NFL execs dubbed Saquon Barkley the No. 1 running back in the NFL. Barkley edged out Christian McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott.

One NFC executive highlighted Barkley’s game-breaking ability as a reason why he’s the NFL’s top back.

“Can score from anywhere on the field, and you feel that. That’s rare. Can generate more big plays than anyone.”

An AFC executive cited Barkley’s all-around skill set.

“Cutting ability, vision, contact balance — he’s got it all. Nothing he doesn’t do.”

It’s not just executives who think highly of Barkley. One veteran linebacker said there’s at least “four guys worrying about him” on every play.

As one would expect, the race for No. 1 was very close. However, Barkley received the most No. 1 votes, which propelled him to the top spot. The running backs outside of the top three were, in order, Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon, Josh Jacobs and Le’Veon Bell.

Barkley being viewed as the best running back in the league by reputable NFL executives is incredibly noteworthy. Although Barkley had a down year in 2019 (1,003 yards, six touchdowns) because of a high ankle sprain, it’s clear people within the NFL know how dangerous he is when fully healthy.

Since the exercise was solely based on who the best running back is for 2020, it’s fair to wonder if executives are expecting McCaffrey to cool down after touching the ball 403 times on offense last year.

Additionally, despite starting his career with back-to-back 1,000+ yard seasons, the polled executives seem to believe the best for Barkley is yet to come, as the article dubs a Year 3 surge seemingly “inevitable.”