NFL Insider Hands Saquon Barkley Top Award
Saquon Barkley is back, and better than ever.
The New York Giants star running back, and former Penn State Football standout was instrumental in New York getting past the Minnesota Vikings and into the NFC Divisional Round, on the heels of one of the more impressive seasons of his career.
Barkley, two years removed from a torn ACL, and a year out from battling through nagging injuries in 2021, was unleashed by new Giants head coach Brian Daboll and staff this season following a concerted effort to get him involved in the offense in space.
Finishing the season as the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher, and ninth in the league in rushing touchdowns, Barkley returned to peak form in the final year of his rookie contract.
With the 2022 NFL regular season in the record books, Heavy Sports’ Senior NFL Insider Matt Lombardo named Barkley his choice for NFL Comeback Player of The Year:
This is the player the Giants hoped they were getting when they chose Barkley No. 2 overall, out of Penn State, in the 2018 NFL Draft. Now two years removed from a torn ACL, Barkley rushed for a career-high 1,312 yards with 10 touchdowns, and was as dangerous as ever as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, hauling in 57 passes for 338 yards. The Giants made a conscious effort all season to utilize Barkley in space, and were rewarded.
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Through the first five seasons of his career, Barkley has averaged 4.5 Yards Per Attempt, while rushing for 4,249 yards with 29 touchdowns in 60 games.
However, Barkley shows no signs of slowing up.
Against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card Round, Barkley rattled off a 28-yard rushing score to set the tone for the Giants offense, and finished the day producing 109 total yards from scrimmage and scoring two rushing touchdowns.
“Every time he has the ball in space, we know he’s going to make a play,” Giants offensive tackle Andrew Thomas said. “The defenses are not happy when he’s out there with those opportunities.”
Barkley has certainly made the most of his opportunities, this season.