Giants Get Their Guy in Barkley

Dave Gettleman wanted to put his pick in two seconds after the Cleveland Browns selected Baker Mayfield first overall in last night’s NFL Draft, such was the conviction of the New York Giants general manager on taking Saquon Barkley.

There was, of course, the temptation for the Giants to stray off course. This team, given their four Super Bowl titles, isn’t used to picking as high up in the NFL Draft as they did on Thursday night. The Giants didn’t panic. They didn’t reach. They got a player who can help them and who was the best fit for their needs.

Win. Win.

Barkley is everything that Gettleman could want in a running back. Not only was he productive his three years at Penn State, including being a Heisman candidate much of last season, he also is a model student-athlete. Poised, articulate and dedicated in and out of the classroom, Barkley is an instant boost to a Giants locker room that splintered at times in 2017.

The Giants could have traded back and entertained calls but at the end of the day, the allure of a generational running back was just too much to pass up.

“We had such a strong conviction on Saquon. I was talking to people – not a lot, but we all had such a conviction on this kid,” Gettleman said after the draft. “At the end of the day, very frankly, today, Baker Mayfield goes. The only reason that pick wasn’t in at 9:58 was because we had to wait untill the five-minute mark.”

Barkley can change the Giants offense and provide a switch from being solely based and founded on the passing game. There is now no reason that the Giants rushing offense should be near the bottom of the NFL, as has been the case the past two years. He’s an instant spark.

The ground game helps the passing game, which in turn helps the Giants become more balanced. This will help them control the clock, something that is also a boon for the defense.

The Giants got better on Thursday night because they got the best overall football player in the draft. It was something Gettleman had to embrace.

And while quarterback Eli Manning and wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, Barkley balances the reliance on the passing game. Simply having him as a threat to break open big runs should keep teams honest and open things down the field for Beckham and Shepard as well as second-year tight end Evan Engram.

The fit was there – it must have been if the Giants used the second overall pick on a position that rarely is taken in the top-5 of the NFL Draft.

“You know what I say about that? It is a crock. At the end of the day, a great player is a great player. He is a touchdown-maker,” Gettleman said.

“He is a threat to take it to the house every time he gets his hands on the ball. I think a lot of that stuff is nonsense. I think it is someone who had decided to get into the analytics of it and went through whatever. Jonathan Stewart is in his 10th year and he has not lost anything. I don’t believe in that. I don’t care who you take, they can all get hurt.”