Mayock high on Barkley
INDIANAPOLIS — The only thing that Saquon Barkley has to prove at the NFL combine this week is that he’s every bit as good as advertised.
“For a guy like Barkley who has worked so hard to develop his gifts, I mean, for him it ought to be a victory celebration. It really should,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “You got to come in and knock it down, one drill after another.
“He’s going to walk out of there four days later and everyone’s going to go: ‘Wow, he’s just as good or better than we thought he was.'”
Then, there would be no doubt that a running back will go in the top five picks of the draft for the third consecutive year, joining Ezekiel Elliott in 2016 and Leonard Fournette in 2017.
The Penn State star might even be the first running back selected in the top two picks since Reggie Bush in 2006 or even the first to go No. 1 overall since another Nittany Lion, Ki-Jana Carter, in 1995.
“I’m just focused on coming out here and trying to dominate this combine,” Barkley said.
Everyone expects him to do just that.
General managers and coaches know all about the 5-foot-11, 233-pound back with a magnificent medley of jaw-dropping quickness and excellent acceleration, speed, balance, vision and power to go with an off-the-charts work ethic who helped Penn State dismantle Washington’s vaunted defense in the Fiesta Bowl .
Mayock said Barkley will dazzle teams even when he’s not on his feet.
“When he goes into meetings at night,” Mayock said, “he’s going to blow people away.”
Barkley, who grew up boxing like his father and great uncle but was always drawn more to the gridiron than the ring, quickly rose to national prominence as one of the country’s most dynamic players as a true freshman at Penn State in 2015.
He flashed a frenetic running style to compile a lengthy highlight reel full of hurdles, spin moves and jukes on his way to a program-best 43 rushing touchdowns in three years.
Mayock said Barkley is at least equal to the last four top-10 running backs — Fournette, Elliott, Todd Gurley and Christian McCaffrey — all of whom made their teams significantly better as rookies.
“I could make the case that this kid Barkley is the best of those guys, best of all five of them,” Mayock said.