Saquon Barkley’s devastating ability broken down by Penn State QB
One day, and one day soon if Giants GM Dave Gettleman is right, Eli Manning will be gushing about Saquon Barkley the way Trace McSorley was gushing about him over the phone.
“You got guys like Barry Sanders, a guy like Bo Jackson, I think Saquon’s physical abilities are right along those lines,” McSorley told The Post. “But then you add it to his work ethic and kinda his drive, where he wants to be, where he sees himself — I definitely think that he can work to become one of the best running backs in NFL history and obviously a gold-jacket type guy with the combination of those two things.”
The Post asked the Penn State Heisman quarterback candidate to break down his former running back in various categories:
Speed: “The Indiana game, the first play he takes the kickoff back, just kinda outran everyone.”
Quickness: “He catches the ball with one hand, next step makes a little quick juke move, makes the guy miss, accelerates down the field, makes another guy miss with one step.”
Toughness: “The Iowa game. He had big numbers, he kinda exploded that game. But it wasn’t like every time he touched the ball it was a huge play. There were some times where he kinda had to grind out some yards. The workload was heavy on his back that game. At the end of the game, we had that two-minute drive and the entire time he’s asking for the ball. He wanted to be the guy with the ball at the end of the game.”
Power: “I go back to the same Iowa game — there was one play he’s kinda running through the line, two dudes collapsing on him, and he just runs right through both of ’em, really like they weren’t even there. Ran through both, shoulder tackles, kept going for a big gain.”
Hands: “There’d be times where we’re working out in the summer, after our workouts he would ask me to stay, throw routes with him out of the backfield. He’d work some stuff out of the slot, he would also do a bunch of stuff where he’d stand 15 yards away and just, ‘Throw me 20 balls and kinda rifle ’em at me so I can get used to catching ’em,’ not just out of a Jugs machine but seeing it come out of a quarterback’s hand. He really wanted to improve that area of his game. Sometimes with a running back, as a quarterback, you kinda gotta put it in a nice, easy spot to where they can catch it right in stride. You don’t have that same kind of feeling behind it where you feel like you gotta make the perfect throw.”
Leadership: “He was our leader and our best player, and he was always the one wanting to do extra work. If someone going through an auxiliary rep or a conditioning rep didn’t do it the right way, he was holding them accountable, making them go back and do it again. You got guys seeing him doing that, then that means that the rest of the team must be doing that too.”
McSorley was asked what he would tell Manning about who and what he is inheriting.
“He’s gonna do everything he can to learn the playbook,” McSorley began. “He wants to learn every little detail, he wants to know how the line’s gonna block, he wants to know where the receivers are gonna be coming from to make their block, who are they gonna be blocking? In pass protection, he wants to be able to think exactly like Eli’s gonna be thinking, so he can be able to react quickly, understand why maybe Eli’s making a protection adjustment or why he’s making a Mike (linebacker) this guy or the other guy.
“Then obviously I would tell him you got obviously a special athlete and a special player, a guy that’s gonna be a difference-maker when he gets the ball in his hands.
“He’s gonna be a selfless player, he’s gonna want to do everything that he can to make the team as good as they can be.”
Saquon Barkley will embrace New York. And New York will embrace Saquon Barkley.
“They’ll love him,” McSorley said.
“His personality, he’s great with fans. He’s understanding that he’s gonna be a guy in the limelight, but he’s very personable, he doesn’t carry himself like he’s cocky or his stuff doesn’t stink. He wouldn’t carry himself like a No. 2 pick. He’s gonna be humble. He loves to have fun. He’s down to earth. That’s kinda his hometown, he was born in New York (Bronx). New York will really be receptive of him, and he’ll definitely be receptive of New York.”