Even after a season in which Saquon Barkley set rookie records and put himself in position to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, the question remains: was passing on a quarterback the right move for the Giants?
Barkley continues to have to answer this question and did so again this week leading up to the Super Bowl.
On the Rapsheet & Friends podcast on Westwood One, the Giants running back said that people who believe the team should have selected a quarterback are “not wrong.”
“I know everyone is saying a quarterback should have been taken before me and, you know, they’re not wrong,” Barkley said. “That’s their opinion. They can have their opinion. But some people believe I should have been taken at that pick. And they’re not wrong, either. They can have that opinion.”
The Giants selected the 21-year-old running back ahead of Sam Darnold, who was taken third overall with the Jets and struggled at times this season but also showed potential.
Barkley has done everything in his power to deflect the attention away from whether or not he was the right selection.
“I got to go out there and try to have the success the (best) way that I can,” he said. “Not to prove anybody else right or wrong.”
Barkley did just that, accumulating a league-high 2,028 yards from scrimmage — becoming just the third rookie in NFL history to eclipse 2,000 total yards in a season — and also set a rookie running back record with 91 receptions en route to being selected to his first Pro Bowl.
On Saturday, the NFL will reveal the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award, which is expected to be between Barkley and Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.