No running back has gone in the top two of a draft since Reggie Bush 12 years ago, but the Giants may be leaning toward using their top offseason investment on a ball-carrier that’s been labeled as one of the highest-ceiling backs to emerge in many years.
“I’ve heard really strongly that there are important people in that building who believe in Saquon Barkley the player, that that’s what they want to be,” ESPN’s Todd McShay said, via Tom Rock of Newsday. “The Giants want to be a run-first, physical football team and Saquon can basically be the face of that franchise moving forward several years. … It just feels to me like it’s inevitable that Saquon Barkley is going to be a New York Giant.”
The Giants brought Barkley in for a visit, and their coaching staff is sold on the Penn State standout. The Giants have been linked to Sam Darnold at No. 2, if he’s there, for a while. But Barkley’s name has come up in recent days as well. While the Alvin Kamara/Kareem Hunt offensive rookie of the year debate showed how top-end backs can be acquired later in the draft, but McShay added Barkley “is different” than the type of back that can be acquired in later rounds. In Dave Gettleman‘s previous draft as a Giants exec, the Giants used their No. 32 overall pick on David Wilson in 2012, and an injury shortened his career to just two seasons. The team’s previous such investment came in 2000, when the then-Ernie Accorsi-led Giants took Ron Dayne at No. 7. Gettleman was in his second year as Big Blue’s pro personnel director at that point.
Here’s the latest from the Big Apple teams:
- If Josh Allen goes No. 1 overall to the Browns, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News isn’t sold that on the Giants wanting Darnold at No. 2. Instead, he envisions a scenario in which the Giants trade down with the Bills to acquire the No. 12 and No. 22 picks plus one of the Bills’ second rounders (Nos. 53 or 56). There is apparently a split in the front office over the team’s evaluation of Darnold, though it should be noted that GM Gettleman never traded down in the first round while in Carolina. In this scenario, Mehta believes the Jets will select Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield at No. 3 over Josh Rosen.
- Could the release of Brandon Marshall lead the Giants to Dez Bryant? When asked about the possibility of signing the former Cowboys star, Gettleman didn’t close the door. “I have interest in everybody,” Gettleman said (via Danny Abriano of SNY.tv). “We do our film work. You never know.” The Giants may lead the pack in terms of teams Bryant wants to land with, having made it clear he wants revenge against the Cowboys.
- While this could go without saying, Newsday’s Calvin Watkins notes CEO Christopher Johnson and other Jets brass are concerned about Robby Anderson‘s behavior. The talented wideout saw a felony charge against him dropped, but the arrest earlier this year — one of many traffic-related issues he’s dealt with over the past several years — still has a misdemeanor charge standing.
Zach Links contributed to this report.