Penn State is flying a bit under the radar in the early portion of the college football season. That should change this week as the Nittany Lions travel to take on Iowa in their first real test of the 2017 season. The scouting community will be focused on several highly rated prospects in this game, but there is one player that clearly stands above everyone else -- PSU RB Saquon Barkley.
He's widely regarded as the top runner in the country and has a unique combination of size, speed and versatility. I reached out to five NFL executives and asked them for a player comparison for Barkley. Here are their answers:
Executive 3:Corey Dillon
"I haven't fully studied him but I see some similarities to Corey Dillon. Big, fast and physical."
Executive 5:Ezekiel Elliott
"I was at the game a few years ago when Elliott and Barkley shared the same field. As impressive as Elliott was, Barkley was the better player. They have similar skill sets but Barkley is better in every area."
Summary: That's one vote apiece for Dillon, Elliott, Hunt, Johnson and Mixon.
Conclusion: This is an impressive list of names. I compared Barkley to Elliott when I studied the PSU RB this summer for my First Look series. I think he's a more talented prospect than any of the running backs in the 2017 draft class. He has the talent and upside to quickly develop into the best running back at the next level. That's not hyperbole.