“Saquon Barkley is not a smart pick for the future” Narrative Debunked

by Sprio Kasabian @nyspwatsguy

Two weeks have passed since the New York Giants took Saquon Barkley with the #2 overall pick.  In doing so, they chose to pass on Darnold, Rosen, and Allen.  They went with the BPA, instead of throwing their proverbial hat into the Quarterback ring.

There is still a significant number of analysts and fans that think this was the wrong move to make.  In their eyes, taking anything other than a Quarterback with the #2 pick was a mistake that will set the franchise back and will be looked back on as a huge miss for many years to come.  I still wonder if all those same people would have been saying that if the choice was Josh Allen, who Pat Shurmur was rumored to like the best, but that is a story for another day.

I am here to debunk the many theories I have heard since the Barkley selection.  So, if you’re in the “we made a mistake drafting Barkley crowd”, buckle the hell up.

  1. “The NFL Running Back shelf-life is so low. Drafting a RB at 2 is a short-term move to win-now on a team that is not going to win now.”

While the average shelf-life for Running Backs is 2.5 years, this considers ALL running backs.  When you look at above average/special running backs, you see that most, if not all have careers last at least a decade.  Some First Round picks that have played over 10 years since 2000 include Jamal Lewis, Thomas Jones, Tomlinson, McGahee, Steven Jackson, DeAngelo Williams, Peterson, Lynch, and our own Jonathan Stewart.  Read the Quote below from Barkley talking about learning under Stewart, referencing longevity:

“Barkley will look to Stewart to not only help him play better, but longer.”

“He’s been in the league (10) years at a position where the shelf life for a running back is not that long, and I want to know how you do it,” Barkley said. “I want to pick your brain. I want to watch you. I want to see the things he does and the way he takes care of his body, what time he’s in and what time he’s out. Try to compete with him, obviously learn and try to take it to another level to try to improve my game and improve my longevity of the game. That’s the whole thing about running back, it’s how long can you do it? You can run for 100 yards for the first four games, but can you keep that up when your body gets the wear and tear. Especially from going from college football straight to Combine training and then straight to rookie minicamp to minicamp and camp itself, it’s such a long season and how do you do it? He’s been doing it for so long that that is definitely the first thing I will try to pick his brain on and just watch him.””

  1. “Eli is 37 years old. We had a chance to draft his successor and failed to do so.”

Yes, it is true that Eli Manning is 37 years old.  Yes, it is true that he is closer to the end than the beginning of his career.  What also is true is that Eli has been injury-free for his entire career.  His arm strength, while never elite, is still there and he can make all of the throws.  This coaching staff and front office have seen enough tape to believe the Eli Manning has more than one more good year left.  If they did not believe that, they would not have passed on the Top Quarterbacks in the draft.

  1. “We don’t know what we have in Davis Webb. He cannot be counted on to be the next Quarterback for this franchise.”

While it is true that most of us do not have any clue what we have in Davis Webb, that is also the counter-point to this argument.  There is not much doubt that Webb has the physical traits to be an NFL Quarterback, but what was questioned, was his footwork and decision-making.  Davis has worked endlessly throughout last season and this offseason to work on those aspects of his game with NFL coaches and Eli Manning as his mentor.  Giants brass must have felt decent enough about his talents to not pick a QB at #2.  Not to mention, the Giants also drafted another talented Quarterback in Kyle Lauletta to push Webb.  The competition will bring out the best in both and with Shurmur grooming both (he has had much success with grooming young QBs), I believe the future is in good hands.

In the end, the Giants took, what many believe, is the most talented running back to come out of college since Adrian Peterson.  This will help whichever Quarterback is behind center for the next decade.  Dave Gettleman went with his convictions and did not force a pick for the sake of drafting a Quarterback.