“If he’s everything we’ve been seeing in college, he can absolutely create some one-on-one matchups for the guys outside,” Burress said in an interview with the New York Post. “If he’s as good as predicted, I think they can have one of the most explosive offenses in football.
“Defenses will have to pick their poison whether they put eight men in the box to stop the run or double Odell (Beckham Jr.).”
Barkley, the second overall pick in April’s NFL Draft out of Penn State, had 1,271 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on 217 carries in his final collegiate season. He also had 54 receptions for 632 yards and three touchdowns for the Nittany Lions. Penn State was ranked eighth in the season’s final AP poll.
The 6-foot-3, 233-pound Barkley was one of the stars of the NFL Combine. He had a 4.40 40-yard dash time and a 41-inch vertical jump. Barkley also showed off his strength with 29 reps on the bench press.
“We had Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, and defenses had to make a decision,” Burress said of the 2007 Giants. “Either you’re going to double me or put that eighth man in the box. If you put that eighth man in the box, everybody in the stadium knows where the ball is going.
“I’m looking forward to it. The sky is the limit for this offense. If they can protect No. 10 (Eli Manning) and get a running game going, they can be special.”
Burress was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the eighth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. He signed with the Giants in 2005 after five seasons with the Steelers. Burress caught the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLII on a 13-yard pass from Manning with 35 seconds remaining.
In November 2008, Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg at a New York City nightclub. He missed the 2009 and 2010 seasons while serving a two-year prison sentence for weapons charges. He signed with the New York Jets in 2011 before returning to the Steelers for his final NFL season in 2012.
In 11 NFL seasons, Burress had 553 receptions for 8,499 yards and 64 touchdowns.