New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley has been in the news often since he was drafted in 2018. Through his first two seasons, he put in his time and racked up almost 2,500 yards rushing and had 17 touchdowns, and he’s recorded just one fumble over four seasons.
On top of that, Barkley has hauled in over 140 receptions for almost 1,200 yards and an additional six receiving touchdowns.
But then, 2020 happened.
Barkley tore his ACL during the second game of the season and missed the remainder. Last season, fans expected Barkley to pick up where he left off, but that didn’t happen.
Still, ESPN has named Barkley an NFL bounce-back candidate here in 2022.
What went wrong: The right ACL tear Barkley suffered in 2020 still had obvious lingering effects into 2021. He was a shell of his former uber-explosive self. Nothing better exemplified that than his work as a receiver. As a rookie, he broke 31 tackles on 91 receptions and averaged 7.9 yards per catch. In 2021, those numbers fell to seven broken tackles on 41 receptions with a 6.4-yard average. The home-run-hitting ability in space simply wasn’t there. — PFF
Outlook for 2022: Barkley looks healthier and better this summer than he has in years. Both coach Brian Daboll and quarterback Daniel Jones used the word “explosive” to describe him this summer. Is expecting rookie year Saquon Barkley realistic? Probably not. But he still has the look of a really good player who is a lot more confident in his body in Year 2 following his torn ACL.
If you’ve ever played sports and had to recover from an injury as serious as a torn ACL, then you understand why the further you get out from surgery, the more confident you become and the more you trust your body to do what it’s been taught to do.
That’s especially true for a running back who is expected to not just power through the line but create separation and be an available receiver for his quarterback. There’s cutting and twisting and adjusting mid-stride, all of which put strain on knees.
Raanan doesn’t think we’ll see the rookie-year version of Barkley, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be impactful. He’s going to run, he’s going to catch the ball, he’s going to block and do whatever he can to help his team win. Because that’s what Barkley does.
Daniel Jones says neck procedure last winter was not football-related
Giants' Ben Bredeson exits practice with apparent elbow injury
Giants' Wink Martindale zings Bill Belichick: 'We're on to Cincinnati'