Saquon Barkley

Penn St.

Prospect Info

Penn St.
Coplay, PA
6' 0"
233 lbs
31 3/8”
9 1/2”

Prospect Grade

Pro Bowl-caliber player
How We Grade

2018 Draft Results

Drafted by
New York Giants
Round 1 ‧ Pick 2
40 Yard Dash
Bench Press
Vertical Jump
Broad Jump
3 Cone Drill
20 Yd Shuttle
60 Yd Shuttle


Barkley has gained notoriety for not only his work on the field, but his relentless work ethic in the weight room and in practice makes his great-uncle, former boxing champion Iran Barkley, proud. Barkley was a four-star recruit and all-state pick (1,856 yards, 31 total TD as a senior) and 100-meter state champion from Pennsylvania (though born in the Bronx). In his first year with the Nittany Lions, all Barkley did was set a school record for freshmen with 1,076 yards (on 182 carries, with seven scores; 20 receptions, 161 yards, TD receiving) and earn Freshman All-American and second-team All-Big Ten honors. He started six of 11 games played, missing two with an ankle injury, with one of his best accomplishments being that he ran for 195 yards and two scores against Ohio State on the road. Barkley really excelled as a sophomore, garnering third-team Associated Press All-American accolades and being named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year after running for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns (tied for sixth in the FBS) on 272 carries (ninth). He finished off the year with 204 yards and two scores on 25 carries against USC in the Rose Bowl, showing off his elite speed and cutting ability, as well as receiving ability and willingness to participate in pass protection.
By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst
Draft Projection
Round 1 (top 5)
NFL Comparison
Barry Sanders
Every-down running back with the ability to alter the course of an offense and become a face of the franchise-type player. Barkley has the rare ability to create additional yardage through elusiveness, speed, vision and feel for space in the open field. While he has been tasked with carrying a heavy load at Penn State, their decision to limit his carries somewhat this season could help Barkley headed into his rookie season. Barkley is a buffet runner who thrives with the more plates you give him and he has a chance to become an early All-Pro no matter which team takes him.
  • Compact frame carries muscular, powerful trunk
  • High tempo runner with urgent underpinnings as his core
  • Offensive lineman's best friend with talent to dismiss penetration with deft footwork
  • Runs with optimal pad level
  • Elite wiggle triggered by fluid hips
  • Knee bend and quick-twitch powers sudden stops paired with aggressive jump cuts and spin moves to leave tacklers hanging
  • Can alter the course of the run whenever he wants
  • Presses line of scrimmage to give himself ample time to make his reads
  • Vision is solid
  • Keeps eyes darting when navigating interior running lanes
  • Exploits voided cutback lanes
  • Lateral burst and agility are top-notch
  • Has plant-and-go burst to rocket around the corner when needed
  • Good feel for managing distance between himself and defenders once he finds an opening
  • Feet are in constant motion and he rarely gears down to change direction in open field
  • Capable pass catcher
  • Effective separator in his routes
  • Beats up linebackers on wheel routes
  • Very tough and very competitive
  • Added two kick returns for touchdowns this year and will do what he must to help his team win
  • Football character and personal character are impeccable
  • More elusive than he is powerful
  • Has modest broken tackle numbers during his career at Penn State
  • Plays with inconsistent leg drive through contact when working between the tackles
  • Will need to develop a more north/south mindset as a pro
  • Doesn't always trust his run crease and will look to find side doors to bounce out of
  • Gets too cute with stutter-steps and jukes on first level allowing help to flow to the ball
  • Needs a little earlier commitment on stretch plays and sweeps rather than going through extended probing
  • Has bouts with focus drops as pass catcher and his catch radius is limited
  • Inconsistent at take-on blocks in pass protection
Sources Tell Us

"You don't screw up the special ones when you are a talent evaluator. This guy is special. Any concerns you file on him just feels like nitpicking to fill out the report." -- NFL general manager


Path to the Draft

Final quick-snap 2018 NFL Draft grades for all 32 teams

Best and most worrisome picks from the 2018 NFL Draft

Winners and losers from Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft

Winners and losers from Rounds 2, 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft

Once-in-lifetime player
Perennial All-Pro
Future All-Pro
Pro Bowl-caliber player
Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
Should become instant starter
Chance to become NFL starter
NFL backup or special teams potential
Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
Should be in an NFL training camp
Chance to be in an NFL training camp
Likely needs time in developmental league