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September 20, 2019

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Saquon Barkley Scouting Report

March 8, 2018

"If Barkley's going to avoid being just a heavier Reggie Bush he'll need to moderate with more violent runs where he uses that weight room strength to power thru contact."

 

Strengths:

 

Thick, bouncy, finesse runner with homerun speed. Tremendous lower body strength allows for gravity defying jump cuts, stop & starts, and changes of direction for a back of his size.

 

Speed to outrun in the open field and around the corner. Soft hands and a dominant receiver out of the backfield. He should be as big a weapon as a receiver as he is a runner. Smart, capable blocker. Flashes strength to finish and break tackles.

 

Brutal stiff arm. A terror on screens and draws. High character guy and a role model off the field. Has a future hall of fame mindset and aproach to the game.

 

This Iowa clip highlights his unique strength and speed. After making the safety miss in space he hugs the sideline, running around another tackler, than stops dead in his tracks making one of the best tacklers in the FBS, Josey Jewell, grab air before outrunning a few others.

Weaknesses:

 

Shy’s from contact and often stops his feet when contacted. Gets high and erodes his power. Contact balance and short area elusiveness can be inconsistent. Better at the second level and open field where he can open up, than behind the line.

 

Decision making/vision isn't always good. Bounces, leaves feet, and jump cuts rather than runs through contact. Powerful lower body but puts a ton of stress on his lower half with his break ankle stop/starts and changes of direction.

Overall:

 

Barkley is arguably the greatest workout warrior of the modern NFL combine. His combination of speed and strength is remarkable. He looks like a power runner but has the mobility and lateral quickness of a scat back.

 

Oddly enough, despite his weight room strength I think he too often runs like a lightweight scatback too. I think it's simply decision making and as a pro I suspect he'll run however he's coached to. That said, there is room for improvement in his vision and decision making.

 

Perhaps the sole criticism of Barkley as a prospect is his tendency to not take what's there. In the first clip, he presses the hole but stops his feet attempting to cut laterally before committing, and turns a likely 3 or so yd gain into a 1 yd gain. This may be a guy trying to make a big run out of a small one, but it also could be a guy trying to avoid contact..or both. There's a collision coming in the hole here and instead of driving in, he attempts to re-route.

 

If he's going to avoid being just a heavier Reggie Bush he'll need to moderate with more runs like the one in the 2nd clip. Nothing flashy but he hits the crease and drives through contact. A back that runs elusive with occasional violence is a lot tougher to get a read on than a predominantly elusive back.

 

Saquon's a role model man and athlete that will be an asset in the locker room and the organization. Durability hasn't been an issue but I do cringe a little every time he makes a jaw dropping stop & start or jump cut because of the enormous stress he's putting on his lower joints at his size...but his elite lower body strength keeps it all together.

NFL Comp: taller Maurice Jones Drew

 

HOF'er Barry Sanders comes to mind when you see Barkley frenetically giving up a yard or two to gain 3 ..but I think Barry had elite foot quickness that the 230lb Saquon can't quite match. While he's about 3 inches taller and 20lbs heavier than MJD and therefore a superior prospect, they're proportionately similar, and he reminds me most of the former UCLA star as a runner and receiver.

 

 

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