As the masses pack into The Fox Theatre in Atlanta on Saturday for the NFL Honors ceremony, Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley will walk in a favorite to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
But, unlike Patrick Mahomes, Barkley isn’t a lock to win the award he is nominated for. Browns QB Baker Mayfield is also in the running, and some believe he has a great chance to stand on stage with the trophy at the end of the day.
The PFWA already named Mayfield its overall Rookie of the Year earlier this offseason, with Barkley winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year which basically serves as a runner-up. However, the fan-voted Pepsi Rookie of the Year went to No. 26, evening the odds.
So, as we head into the weekend awaiting who the Associated Press names Offensive Rookie of the Year, there is no clear-cut winner between Barkley and Mayfield. While Mayfield had a great rookie campaign, solidifying himself as the Browns’ long-desired franchise quarterback, Barkley had a season for the ages.
And because Barkley’s accomplishments this year on a lackluster Giants squad truly jump off the page, he should get the edge over Mayfield in the end.
Just to put it into perspective, we broke down the 21-year-old’s remarkable season, showing just a few of the franchise and NFL records he rewrote along the way…
1) Barkley becomes third NFL rookie RB to eclipse 2,000 scrimmage yards
Barkley amassed 1,307 rushing yards and 721 receiving yards on the season, which comes in at a whopping 2,028 yards. That is an amazing stat line for a veteran running back, let alone a rookie and Barkley joined immortal company in doing so.
Only Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James have accomplished that feat in NFL history, which is why this accomplishment above all is the one that stand out the most.
2) Barkley becomes owner of Giants rookie rushing touchdown record
In Week 17 against the Cowboys, Barkley’s leap over the defense at the goal line gave him his 11th rushing touchdown, which broke the record for most scores on the ground by a Giants rookie. The best part? Barkley launched from the 4-yard line to get the ball over the goal line.
– NFL Brasil (@NFLBrasil) December 31, 2018
3) First Giants rookie to rush for 1,000 yards or more
You would think with names like Tiki Barber, Rodney Hampton and Ahmad Bradshaw, at least one of them would have collected 1,000 yards or more on the ground in their rookie season. But that’s no easy feat for anyone in the NFL, which makes it that much sweeter for Barkley.
As noted before, he totaled 1,307 yards rushing this season, which also ranks seventh for a single season in franchise history. Barkley collected seven 100-yard rushing games (another franchise record) during the year on his way to his grand total. And speaking of Bradshaw, Barkley was the Giants first 1,000-yard rusher since he did it in 2012.
This one definitely helped (Fun Fact: Barkley topped out at 21.91 mph on this run, marking the fastest touchdown record all season)…
Has 1,000 on the seasonpic.twitter.com/zPL4hPobsv
– Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 9, 2018
4) Breaks Reggie Bush’s all-time receptions record
Going back to Week 17, Barkley needed just two catches to break Bush’s record of 88 receptions by a rookie running back. Well, Barkley wasn’t satisfied with only two.
Instead, he tallied five catches in the game to finish with 91 receptions on the season — the same amount his teammate Odell Beckham Jr. had in his rookie season. And what did OBJ do that year? Win Rookie of the Year….
– New York Giants (@Giants) December 30, 2018
5) Ties Dickerson with most games of 100 yards from scrimmage
Dickerson had a total 13 of his 16 games with 100 or more yards from scrimmage during his rookie seasond, and Barkley matched it after his 142 total yards in Week 17. Barkley could have broken this record to had he not reached a slight rough patch toward the end of the season.
6) Most touchdowns by a Giants rookie
Along with his 11 rushing touchdowns, Barkley had four touchdowns through the air to rewrite another Giants rookie record with 15 overall.
And the most memorable one of them all had to be his connection with Odell Beckham Jr. against the Panthers on a trick play for the ages…
.@OBJ is THROWING TDs!
57-yard TD PASS to @Saquon!
– NFL (@NFL) October 7, 2018
7) Makes his first career Pro Bowl
Why is this an accomplishment that stands out with other rookies making the Pro Bowl this year? Well, Barkley made it while Mayfield did not. Another check to the Giant.
8) Move over Randy Moss, you got company
For years, Moss was the only rookie in NFL history that totaled five touchdowns of 50 or more yards in his rookie season. That is until Barkley did the same thing this year.
Check this out, though: The Giants have only had three rushing touchdowns of 50 or more yards in the past 10 seasons. Barkley had three this year, including this 68-yard dash for his first ever touchdown against the Jaguars in Week 1…
Saquon Barkley’s first NFL touchdown 👏👏👏
– SB Nation (@SBNation) September 9, 2018
These are just some of the accolades Barkley has managed to amass in just his first year, which should make Giants fans uber excited he is wearing Big Blue for many years to come.
Hopefully he will have some hardware to go with this stellar season once Saturday comes to a close as well.