Giants RB Saquon Barkley reminds DC James Bettcher of David Johnson
New Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher was around a pretty good running back in David Johnson during his time with the Arizona Cardinals. He’ll get to be around another one again for the foreseeable future in New York with No. 2 pick Saquon Barkley.
When asked by Steve Serby of the New York Post whether he sees a bit of the star Cardinals running back in the rookie, Bettcher couldn’t help but agree.
“I’d say he does. Very explosive. You can see ability in the pass game, getting in and out of breaks. He’s gonna be a matchup nightmare for a lot of coordinators, a lot of defensive coaches in this league on how you’re gonna defend him. The run game’s one thing — he can put his foot in the ground and cut, he can make people miss, he can turn three yards probably into four and five. I’m excited to see him when we get pads on play, I really am. He’s gonna be tough to deal with.”
Prior to missing virtually all of last season with a wrist injury, Johnson was a two-way beast who nearly joined an exclusive club with 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season in 2016. The Giants likely saw that type of potential for Barkley, which was why they took him with their No. 2 pick in the draft.
It’s not a stretch to believe the Giants will look to use the versatile Barkley similar to how the Cardinals deployed Johnson. And if Bettcher is right about the similarities between the two, Barkley could end up having a spectacular rookie year like what Johnson had in 2016.