New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley started his career with a bang. He was selected No. 2 overall as Dave Gettleman thought that he would help turn the franchise around instantly. Through one season, that looked like it would be the case.
Barkley won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award and was named a Pro Bowler as well. He carried the ball 261 times for 1,307 yards, rushing for 11 touchdowns. He showcased his dual-threat ability, as he also caught 91 passes for 721 yards and four touchdowns, leading the league in yards from scrimmage.
Barkley looked like not only one of the best running backs in the league but one of the best young players. He was a transcendent talent, as Gettleman went as far as saying that he was touched by the hand of God.
For one season, Barkley lived up to the hype. But, he has not been able to replicate that level of production. The Giants failed epically to build a competent offensive line to set the offense up for success. But, the biggest issue that has plagued Barkley has been his injuries.
After appearing in all 16 games as a rookie, he has played only 28 games in the three seasons since. Almost half of Barkley’s production in his career came in that rookie season, as he ran for 1,630 yards and eight touchdowns on 398 carries, catching 99 passes for 761 yards and four touchdowns.
A lot of people have written Barkley off as a result of the injuries. They no longer believe he is a top-ranked running back in the league, as there are a lot of people doubting him. Barkley is ready to prove all of those people wrong starting this season.
That is the right mindset for Barkley to have coming into the season. The further he removes himself from the injuries he has suffered, the more comfortable he will be on the field. We saw flashes of some of the explosiveness he showed as a rookie last season, but it wasn’t as consistent.
With better health and a hopefully improved offensive line ahead of him, Saquon Barkley is set up well to bounce back in 2022. This is a big season for him, as it is the final year of his rookie contract and he will be hitting free agency in 2023.