For all the praise Saquon Barkley is getting, there are still some with reservations about the highly touted former Penn State running back.
Take Fox Sports 1’s Undisputed on Monday. While Joel Klatt, Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe all acknowledged Barkley’s talent, the trio agreed that Barkley is not a workhorse back. For comparison’s sake, Klatt said Barkley is not Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley or Leonard Fournette.
“I don’t think he’s your workhorse,” the college football commentator and analyst said. “Let’s just put it like this. He’s probably more Christian McCaffrey than he is Leonard Fournette.”
Here’s the full clip:
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) March 5, 2018
Bayless subsequently agreed, citing Barkley’s 44-yard performance against Ohio State in which he averaged less than 3 yards per carry. Klatt added Barkley had only two games with more than 20 carries last season.
Sharpe then said for the most part teams use a two-back system anyway.
All three said he would contribute, but Klatt went on to quote John Elway saying you’ve got to take a Hall of Fame player in the top 2 when Von Miller was on the board in the 2011 NFL Draft. As for Cleveland at No. 1 this season?
“Do you take Saquon Barkley?” Klatt asked. “Not only do you need a guy who could go to the Hall of Fame or potentially be in that category, you’ve got to change your franchise for a decade.”
Klatt then said there are three ways to change the organization: get the quarterback right, trade and build, or get a pass rusher.
“I don’t think anything else changes your organization for a decade,” Klatt said.
The stats the trio cited do back up their argument. But they also ignored the fact that teams keyed on Barkley and the Nittany Lions turned to their large array of other weapons with dual-threat quarterback Trace McSorley, among others.
Of course, on the other side of that argument, there was the NFL coach who said he would ‘punch himself in the nuts’ to draft Barkley.