Even prior to the 2018 NFL Draft, former New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings predicted that Saquon Barkley would storm the league and walk away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
Almost a year later, it looks like Jennings may have been spot on.
While it wasn’t exactly a Nostradamus-like prediction, Jennings knew what he saw in Barkley while the youngster attended Penn State. And while it took him a few games to get used to the speed of the NFL, Barkley eventually took off and proved that his success as a Nittany Lion was no fluke.
Still, while considered a favorite, Barkley is no lock to win Rookie of the Year. Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, Brown running back Nick Chubb and Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay are all also in the conversation, and rightfully so.
But don’t tell that to Jennings, who still believes Barkley is a lock to win.
“I said this before he was even drafted. I tweeted it in March and I can’t wait to retweet it. In March, it said, ‘Saquon is going to win Rookie of the Year,’” Jennings told TMZ Sports. “Never knew what team he was going to be with, but I got a chance to kind of bump into him, watch his work ethic. . . Dude is special. He can wear a gold jacket one day. No doubt about it.
“Hands down he should win Rookie of the Year. If he doesn’t win Rookie of the Year, we’ve got some problems; we have to go back to the drawing board.”
In addition to pounding the drum for Barkley, Jennings also shared some thoughts on quarterback Eli Manning, dismissing much of the media narrative.
“Eli should still start, yeah. Who they got that can start over Eli right now?” Jennings asked. “Eli is probably going to play one or two more years, man. That’s probably what he desires.
“They’re going to start to address the position at some point, but they still want to fix some things along the offensive line and bring depth all across the board. . . But Eli still can play ball, man. No doubt about it.”
Jennings did ponder what general manager Dave Gettleman will do as far as a succession plan, however. Do the Giants draft someone to learn under Manning or do they swing for the fences via free agency or trade? It’s the million dollar question.
Either way, Jennings remains loyal to his former team, former quarterback and now, the very man who essentially replaced him as the Giants’ starting running back.