New York Giants Draft Prospect to Watch This Weekend – Sept. 30

IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 23: Running back Saquon Barkley (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 23: Running back Saquon Barkley (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images) /

The New York Giants lost again in Week 3. With their 0-3 start, Big Blue has a tough hill to climb. After starting the year with Super Bowl aspirations, the Giants are now looking like a team that could be picking in the top-ten. A top-ten pick means an opportunity to add a talented player. Let’s look at a college player who could help fix the Giants’ problems next season.

Every Friday, we’ll be giving you a New York Giants draft prospect to watch on Saturday as you psych yourself up for Big Blue football on Sunday! Cause everybody knows, the weekends are for football (just don’t tell your girlfriend or wife).

New York Giants Biggest Need: Running Back

We finally have a new biggest need! Have the Giants solved their offensive line problem? Absolutely not. However, the offensive line played better in Week 3 while the running game continued to struggle.

Big Blue did not allow a sack against the Eagles and in an unusual series of events, Ereck Flowers graded out as New York’s best offensive lineman, according to Pro Football Focus.

Despite better offensive line play and Big Blue’s passing game taking off, the Giants continued to struggle to run the football.

Paul Perkins, Orleans Darkwa, and Shane Vereen combined for 17 carries for 49 yards (2.9 avg). Amazingly, 20 of those 49 yards came on an Orleans Darkwa run.

For the most part, Orleans Darkwa has outplayed Paul Perkins this year, although neither has been particularly impressive. Shane Vereen is really just a pass-catching back who’s a free agent at the end of the year. Rookie Wayne Gallman has yet to suit up for an NFL game but may get the chance this weekend with Darkwa (back) and Vereen (calf) both missing practice this week.

Perhaps Gallman will step up when given the chance but running back seems like a position that the New York Giants could draft in 2018.

Prospect to Watch: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State (Projected top-10 pick)

Sitting at 0-3, the Giants would be picking fourth overall if the 2018 NFL Draft was today. This would be a perfect spot to grab the draft’s top running back prospect.

In 2016, the Dallas Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall. Then in 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Leonard Fournette with the fourth pick.

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In 2018, the New York Giants could pick Saquon Barkley with the fourth overall selection.

The Penn State running back has been one of the top players in the country this season. Barkley possesses size, speed, strength, elusiveness, and can catch the ball out of the backfield.

Barkley is Pro Football Focus’ top-graded running back through four weeks and is the No. 1 RB on their All-American Watch team. Not surprisingly, Saquon was also PFF’s top-ranked running back in Week 4 with a 97.9 overall grade.

Saquon Barkley was spectacular with past weekend against Iowa. He showed his dual-threat ability, carrying the ball 28 times for 211 yards and a touchdown and catching 12 passes for another 94 yards.

Barkley was also incredibly elusive against the Hawkeyes. Saquon forced an unbelievable 15 missed tackles last Saturday. Barkley forced more missed tackles against Iowa than he had all year, according to Pro Football Focus’ Ryan Smith.

Saquon Barkley is the complete back that the New York Giants have been missing. They won’t have to pull him off the field on third downs for a pass-catching back like Shane Vereen. Barkley can stay on the field and be a threat in the passing game.

Drafting a running back in the first round may seem like giving up on Paul Perkins too quickly but Perkins was a fifth-round pick so he wasn’t a big-time investment.

Barkley and the fourth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions will take on the Indiana Hoosiers this Saturday in a Big Ten battle.

All NFL eyes are always on Penn State when Saquon Barkley is playing. However, the New York Giants should be paying extra close attention to Barkley, not just this weekend but for the rest of the year.

Next: Three New York Giants Who Need to Improve in Week 4

Big Blue’s slow start to 2017 could give them the opportunity to draft Saquon Barkley in 2018.

At least there’s a bright side to starting 0-3.

Where to Watch: Indiana Hoosiers at 4 Penn State Nittany Lions

Saturday, Sept. 30 – Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pennsylvania – 3:30 pm ET on Big Ten Network