In the end of the draft frenzy, the Giants and Jets both go the right picks.
The Giants made the right choice by selecting Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. He as regarded as the best talent in the draft and his overall numbers and field prowess proved it. It became evident over the past few months, the Giants and Barkley would be a fit.
Barkley finally gives the Giants a respectable and dynamic presence at running back since Tiki Barber. New GM Dave Gettleman began assembling the makings of a potent offensive line, one that should help Barkley generate numbers similar to those at Penn State where he scored 43 touchdowns on the ground and garnered nearly 3,900 yards as well as catching 103 balls for nearly 1,200 yards.
“He can string together moves and get in and out of stuff,’’ said Gettleman about Barkley. “He’s unique, no doubt about it. He’s big, he’s powerful, he can step on the gas, he’s got different levels of speed and he catches the heck out of the ball and he sees the blitz pickup stuff. He’s unique.
With Barkley and a new life in the line in front of him, 37-year-old Eli Manning should be energized and avoid the hits and sacks he endured last season. If the Giants quickly can resolve the contract issue with Odell Beckham Jr, they have the potential to regain their 11-win form from two years ago.
As for the Jets, wasn’t Sam Darnold going to be their guy during last summer. Remember when the prognosticators had the Jets winning one or two games last season, and Darnold would be their selection as well as the top overall pick in the draft? It was the “Suck for Sam” campaign.
A last-minute media wave toward Baker Mayfield suddenly changed Cleveland’s mind, and the Browns shifted their focus away from Darnold.
Ironically, it was the Jets who developed a love affair for Mayfield over the past few months, and he looked like the lock at the number three pick.
But the Jets appear to have a solid choice with Darnold. He does have the overall numbers as he threw for more than 4,000 yards last season with 26 touchdowns and became the first USC quarterback to achieve the feat.
Darnold drew same red flags last season when he threw 13 interceptions and nine lost fumbles. Overall, Darnold had 37 times in 26 games for the Trojans. In his defense last season, Darnold has a rebuilt offensive line and a new corps of receivers.
Time will tell for both general managers. Barkley appears to be a safer bet especially if the line jells next season. Darnold has to snap the curse of the USC quarterbacks and end the franchise quarterback drought that has left the Jets’ dry since Joe Namath left for the Rams in 1976.
Every player isn’t full proof, but Barkley and Darnold both give their respective teams their best shots at sure-fire picks.