The 2018 NFL Draft will be highlighted by Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, the most gifted running back prospect to enter the league since Adrian Peterson in 2007.
Yes, that includes Leonard Fournette (Jaguars) and Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys) who were both drafted with top-five picks the last two years. Barkley has a legitimate chance to be the first player chosen in April.
Here are a few traits that make Barkley so special:
Balance/Change of direction
One play tells the entire Barkley story. In this run against Iowa, he flashed his vision, power, balance and burst to create a special highlight-reel run.
Barkley is a load at nearly 230 pounds, but he has elite juice. He’s always one touch away from taking it the distance.
Running backs who can produce in the passing game bring extra value to the NFL, and Barkley is proving he’s a special target coming out of the backfield. He creates separation from linebackers with little effort because of twitchy change-of-direction.
Barkley complements his playmaking style with a finisher’s mentality. His leg drive and pad level are exceptional. He’s going to thrive in short-yardage and goal-line situations in the NFL.
The only thing that will prevent Barkley from being a sure-fire top-three pick at this point is an injury. Assuming he can finish the year in good health, teams at the top of the draft will be gifted a running back with franchise-changing upside.