Najee Harris has his eyes set on the NFL, and is expected to be the first running back off the board at the NFL Draft later this month. The guy he is looking up at when it comes to the world's best running back? He says it is New York Giants star Saquon Barkley.
Harris, who just wrapped up an incredible career at Alabama, joined ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter on his podcast. There, he was asked about which running back he believes is the league's best.
"A healthy Saquon is the best running back in the NFL, for sure," he says. He may have others who join him in that camp, but the stipulation there is a big one. Barkley is coming off of a year in which he played just two games.
In those appearances, Barkley was hardly productive, totaling just 34 yards on 19 carries, along with 60 yards on six receptions. Of course, it is unfair to judge him on less than two full games, for a Giants offense that has been deeply flawed since his rookie year.
If Saquon Barkley returns to his rookie year form behind a reenergized New York Giants offensive line and an improved Daniel Jones, Najee Harris may be right. In 2018, his first season out of Penn State, there were few more explosive players in the league.
Barkley ran for 1,307 yards, averaging five yards per carry, and 11 touchdowns. He was also dangerous as a receiver, catching 91 passes for 721 yards and four scores, putting him over 2,000 total yards from scrimmage that season.
Hopefully we'll get to see more of that Barkley this year, as he recovers from the torn ACL he suffered early in the 2020 season. Guys like Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, and Aaron Jones are going to have something to say about that "NFL's best running back" title, even if Barkley is healthy.