Penn State Football NFL Draft Preview: RB Saquon Barkley

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Running back Saquon Barkley
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Running back Saquon Barkley /

Penn State football alum, Saquon Barkley, will be one of the first few players taken in the 2018 NFL Draft

After three successful seasons in Happy Valley, running back Saquon Barkley is headed for the next step of his career. In just a day’s time, Barkley will hear his name called in the first round of the NFL Draft. He was arguably the best running back in college football last season enters the draft as one of the most talented overall prospects.

Barkley didn’t have a lot of hype surrounding him entering college. Originally committed to Rutgers, Penn State head coach James Franklin was able to convince him to become a Nittany Lion.

In three seasons with the Nittany Lions Barkley rushed for 3,843 yards and 43 touchdowns. However, Barkley is much more than just a runner. He proved to be a dangerous receiver, both out of the backfield and lined up in the slot. He made 102 receptions for 1,195 yards and eight scores.

Aside from just running and catching, Barkley also proved to be a weapon on special teams. He acted as Penn State’s primary kick returner this pas year and racked up 426 yards on 15 returns. He also had two electrifying returns for touchdowns.

A late-season slump that saw him struggle to break free at times took him out of the running for the Heisman Trophy. However, he still garnered All-American Honors and won several awards, including the Paul Hornung Award.

When looking at Barkley, one has to look deeper than just the numbers he put up on the field. Barkley is an absolute beast in the weight room, setting numerous lifting records at Penn State. He tested very well at the NFL Combine in February and got to show off his speed by running a 4.4 40-yard dash.

HIs performance at the combine was described as “one for the ages” by CBS Sports.

That strong performance in front of NFL scouts, paired with his three-year body of work from college, make Barkley one of the best available players in the draft. He’s a lock to be taken in the top 10, likely the top-five, and could go as high as No. 1 or No. 2.

Several people have chimed in on just how good they think Barkley really is.

ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit recently remarked that Barkley is the best player in the 2018 NFL Draft. Fox Sports Analyst Jay Glazer called Barkley, “About as perfect of a prospect you can find.”

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Barkley will be one of the prospects that will be attending the draft. Look for him to be walking across the stage shortly after the festivities begin.