Giants RB Saquon Barkley studying Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell’s blocking
Not many were surprised when the New York Giants selected former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The biggest reason being his potential as an immediate three-down back.
It seems he has done his due diligence on the least glamorous part of the job by learning from one the NFL’s best. According to John Healy of the New York Daily News, Barkley says he was watching tape on Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell’s pass-blocking skills before minicamp:
“I was watching his film this morning, how he sets up his blocks. I think you got to be versatile as running back, be able to block, run between tackles, outside tackles,” Barkley said. “The top five backs…that’s what they’re able to do … that’s what it takes to be a good back in the NFL.”
It goes without saying that there is plenty of truth to Barkley’s comments. In order to become a three-down back, one must be versatile enough to run, catch, and block better than any player at his position on the team. It is one that the Giants feel Barkley is more than capable of becoming as well.
That said, it is encouraging to see that the rookie is doing his homework. Bell is widely considered the best running back in the NFL and will likely be paid as such in the near future. Barkley will need to show similar promise if he hopes to legitimize his draft position and one day potentially become the next highest-paid running back in the NFL.