The New York Giants were clearly in Saquon Barkley’s corner when they passed up all the quarterbacks with the second overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft to select Penn State’s All-America running back.
But history is not in his corner.
Barkley becomes the sixth Penn State running back to be selected in the Top 10 of an NFL draft. Only one ever rushed for 1,000 yards in a season.
Lenny Moore was the ninth overall of the 1956 draft by the Baltimore Colts. He rushed 86 times for 649 yards as a rookie with eight touchdowns. He played in an era of 12- and 14-game seasons and never rushed for 1,000 yards in a single season. But he was voted to seven Pro Bowls, splitting his time between running back and wide receiver, and now has a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Curt Warner was the third overall pick of the 1983 draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He rushed 335 times for 1,449 yards and 13 touchdowns as a rookie to lead the AFC in rushing. Knee injuries limited his career to seven seasons but he managed to rush for 1,000 yards four times and went to three Pro Bowls.
Blair Thomas was the second overall choice of the 1990 draft by the New York Jets. He rushed 123 times for 620 yards and one touchdown as a rookie. He played six NFL seasons but never rushed for 1,000 yards in any of them.
Curtis Enis was the fifth overall selection of the 1998 draft by the Chicago Bears. He rushed 133 times for 497 yards without any touchdowns as a rookie. His career lasted just three seasons and he never rushed for 1,000 yards in any of them.
Ki-Jana Carter was the first overall pick of the 2005 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He rushed 91 times for 264 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie. He played seven years but never rushed for as many as 500 yards in any of the seasons.
So where will Barkley fit among these highly-drafted Penn State running backs? That’s the subject of our Talk of Fame Network poll this week. How many rushing yards will Barkley gain for the Giants in 2018? Here are your options:
600 yards. A Blair Thomas-type rookie season.
800 yards. A Le’Veon Bell-type rookie season.
1,000 yards. A Tony Dorsett-type rookie season.
1,200 yards. A LaDainian Tomlinson-type rookie season.
NFL rushing title. An Ezekiel Elliott-type rookie season.