Raiders Draft Profile
Name: Saquon Barkley
School: Penn State
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 230 lbs.
The Raiders likely won’t be in the range where Barkley goes. However, if he were to fall somehow, Oakland should select him. Again, Barkley will be a great fit on any team that he goes to, but the Raiders specifically need a young running back to pair with their massive offensive line. In addition, he gives the Raiders a complete back. Marshawn Lynch will likely return for one more year. After that, the team will look for another franchise back. Jon Gruden will be looking to mold a running back to his system as well.
While Barkley isn’t strictly a power runner, he hits the hole with force. Additionally, he shows no fear about lowering the pads. In space, he makes the first defender miss. If the defense lapses in any way, via bad angles, Barkley rips off chunk yardage. Although he is 230 pounds, Barkley does not fit the hammer stereotype. He derives his style from the ability to cut, whether in traffic or not. Barkley’s running style is a result of his dedication to the weight room. For example, the video below.
While Barkley possesses phenomenal burst, do not confuse him for Chris Johnson. He is not the fastest back, yet still a gamebreaker on the field. When he receives the ball, his acceleration occurs immediately. On perimeter runs, Barkley easily gets to the corner with ease.
During his career in Happy Valley, Barkley snagged 102 passes, scoring eight touchdowns. With football evolving into a multi-back offense, Barkley’s ability to win on swing passes should ensure him three downs.
Willing blocker, especially with his size, Barkley will be adequate in pass protection. It will take some time for him to learn protections. Nevertheless, once up to speed on protection responsibilities, he will be a factor on passing downs.
At times, Barkley’s vision and perception bailed out the Nittany Lions offense. He takes a simple draw play, sees daylight, and bolts. More importantly, he will continue to string moves together to free himself downfield. While most backs will try to outrun everyone, Barkley constantly works. Many compare him to Ezekiel Elliott or Devonta Freeman, but Barkley could eclipse both. Given the right situation in Oakland, Barkley could be an offensive cornerstone. With Derek Carr and presumably Amari Cooper, the Raiders could have their own Big Three.