- Penn State running back Saquon Barkley has turned heads at the NFL combine.
- Barkley not only put up more bench press repetitions than some offensive linemen, but showed an impressive jumping and sprinting ability.
- Already considered one of the best prospects in the draft, Barkley has only helped hs draft stock, and it’s hard to imagine him falling out of the top five.
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley has done nothing but help his draft stock at the NFL combine this week.
Barkley was already considered a top-five pick, perhaps even the best prospect in the draft because of his skill as a runner and receiver. However, his performance at the combine has only helped his standing in the draft class.
Barkley turned heads on Thursday during the bench press portion of the combine when he busted out 29 reps of 225 lb. Barkley’s 29 reps would have ranked sixth among 29 offensive linemen. According to NFL Research, the Cleveland Browns’ future Hall of Fame offensive lineman Joe Thomas did 28 in 2007 at the combine.
Here’s the video of Barkley’s session:
— NFL (@NFL) March 1, 2018
At 6 feet, 233 lb, Barkley is also an explosive athlete, unusually so for a player his size. His vertical jump measured 41 inches, nearly three inches higher than Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, according to NFL Research.
— NFL (@NFL) March 2, 2018
And Barkley ran a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash, faster than Leonard Fournette and Ezekiel Elliott’s times in the previous two combines.
With the resurgence of running backs in the NFL, following the success of Todd Gurley, Elliott, and Fournette, Barkley will present an interesting debate for NFL teams. While there are several intriguing quarterback prospects, Barkley might be the safest prospect in the draft, especially if he’s put behind a strong offensive line.
While the value of combine testing is debated, Barkley is proving he’s one of the most athletic players in the draft. After racking up over 1,200 rushing yards, 600 receiving yards, and 21 total touchdowns in 2017, Barkley’s stock is only elevating.