By: Steve Johnson
Saquan Barkley, RB, Penn State
6’0 233 31 3/8″ arms, 9 1/2″ hands
4.40 40, 41″ vert, broad jump
2015: 11 games. 182 att, 1076 yards, 7 TDs. 20 rec, 161 yards, 1 TD
2016: 14 games. 272 att, 1496 yards, 18 TDs. 28 rec, 402 yards, 4 TDs.
2017: 13 games. 217 att, 1271 yards, 18 TDs. 54 rec, 632 yards, 3 TDs
Misc. Stats: Returned 18 KRs for 500 yards and 2 TDs. Completed 2 of 2 passes for 36 yards and a TD in 2017.
Accolades: 2014 Mr. PA Football, 2015 Freshmen All-American, 2015 Second-team All-Big Ten, 2016 Big Ten Champion. 2016 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, 2016 First-team All-Big Ten, 2017 First-team All-Big Ten, 2017 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, 2017 All-American, 6x Big-Ten Offensive Player of the Week,
History: Born in Bronx, NY, his family moved to Bethlehem, PA as a youth. Family has a history of boxing, his father was an amateur boxer and uncle Iran was a World Champion. Barkley was a standout at Whitehall, the four-star recruit originally committed to Rutgers before switching to Penn St.
Strengths: Freak athlete. Muscular and strong kid. Weight room warrior. Elite cut on a dime ability, reminiscent of Barry Sanders/Lesean McCoy/Leveon Bell. Can stop or jump cut and accelerate with the absolute best of them. Great vision and change of direction skills. Can break one at any point in the game. Elite balance (see hurdle and broken tackle mid air vs Iowa, vs one of the best corners in this years draft). Knows when the play is over, and when to get out of bounds or go down. Impossible for linebackers to guard on wheel routes. Has return ability. Character, great teammate and even better person. Tough, competitive, and extremely hard worker.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t have bulldozer type power. Dances just a little too much, will need to hit the hole and go North more in the pros. Not a great pass catcher, but relaible (caught 54 balls and was the center point of PSU’s 2017 offense). Pass pro needs some work.
Overview: There’s not enough good things to say about Saquan Barkley, from both on and off the football field. Barkley is an absolute elite RB talent. It’s hard to find weaknesses, because he is so talented and has such a great character. There has been a lot of exceptional running back talent in the past few drafts (Gurley, Fournette, Elliott), but he is the best of them all. He is a once in a generation type running back, the overall best prospect in this class and arguably one of the greatest RB prospects ever.
Draft Projection: Top 5 Pick
Phanaddict Draft Grade: 8.60
How we grade