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Penn State running back Saquon Barkley declares for 2018 NFL Draft

saquon barkley

Prior to the 2017 college football season, most analysts assumed that star Penn State running back Saquon Barkley would ultimately declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. Just one day after helping the Nittany Lions win the Fiesta Bowl, Barkley did exactly that.

Barkley announced his decision on his Instagram account:

Farewell Penn State, thank you for everything! #WeAre 🔵⚪️

A post shared by Saquon Barkley (@sb_xxvi) on

“After lots of thought, prayer and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to forego my senior season and enter the NFL Draft.”

The preseason Heisman hopeful finished with 225 fewer rushing yards his junior year than his sophomore one, but he made up for it by compiling 230 more receiving yards. He also returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns in 2017.

Despite receiving a smaller workload against the Washington Huskies in the Fiesta Bowl to keep himself healthy for the draft, Barkley managed to compile 175 all-purpose yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns.

While running backs have seen their value in the draft dip over the last few years, Barkley’s versatility, size, and speed have him projected to go in the top five on most mock draft boards.

ESPN’s top two NFL Draft analysts, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, rated Barkley No. 1 and No. 2 on their boards, respectively.

Penn State head coach James Franklin had nothing but good things to say about the running back as he realizes his NFL dream:

“As good of a player as he is, he is an even better person and I look forward to watching him achieve his dream of playing in the NFL,” Penn State coach James Franklin said in a statement.

With the NFL season concluding yesterday, the draft order is set. Here are the top five picks:

  1. Cleveland Browns (0-16)
  2. New York Giants (3-13)
  3. Indianapolis Colts (4-12)
  4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans)
  5. Denver Broncos (5-11)