The current state of the running back position in the NFL has never been more vulnerable than it is right now. What a fall from grace from being the glamorous/pedestal position of the sport up until arguably the late 2000s. NFL teams are getting stingier than ever with their salary cap dollars and income cases I concede it makes sense. Front offices are less interested in not only spending cap dollars but draft capital as well because of this phenomenon of finding elite running back talent late in drafts.
However when you look around the league at the elite players at the position, a very high majority of them are first and second round picks. These are the Top 6 rated running backs heading into 2023 by PFF: (in no particular order)
- Saquon Barkley (first round)
- Christian McCaffrey (first round)
- Nick Chubb (second round)
- Derrick Henry (second round)
- Josh Jacobs (first round)
- Jonathon Taylor (second round)
Not to mention guys like:
- Dalvin Cook (second round)
- Breece Hall (second round)
- Kenneth Walker (second round)
- Travis Etienne (first round)
- JK Dobbins (second round)
- Najee Harris (first round)
- Joe Mixon (second round)
- Miles Sanders (second round)
- Ezekiel Elliott (first round)
- AJ Dillon (second round)
- Cam Akers (second round)
Are there other very good backs who were taken in later rounds/yndrafted like Austin Ekeler, Tony Pollard, Aaron Jones and Alvin Kamara? Of course. Even some young guys with potential like Damon Pierce, Rhamondre Stevenson, Javonte Williams and Isaiah Pacheco? For sure. But that’s no different than finding diamonds in the rough at any other position. Look at all of these active stud running backs that were drafted in the first two rounds. Clearly investing in the running back position on some level is important.
Furthering my point when it comes to Saquon specifically is that he‘s a complete outlier when it comes to the position. He’s a special player. He transcends the position. He’s more than a guy to give a few carries too he’s a complete offensive weapon. He’s the kind of guy you can build an entire offense around and win without a ton of other talent at the skill positions (CC last year’s Giants team). He’s the elite of the elite when it comes to running backs.
Saquon was without question the best player on the Giants offense last year and arguably the best player on the team. Not only is he one of the best football players in the league, he‘s a captain, he’s a leader and he’s the kind of guy you want in the locker room and in the community representing a proud organization like the New York Football Giants. I have full trust in Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll who did such an incredible job in year 1, and I totally understand it’s a business but when it comes to success of this team, Saquon has a massive role in that.
The sooner he‘s in the facility with the team, the better. I have no doubts he’s in shape and ready to go whenever they get this deal done, but the Giants gotta make something happen to bring Saquon back home and make him a Giant for life. He makes Daniel Jones better. He makes the offense better. He makes everything better for the Giants. Let’s get it done. Sign Saquon to a real contract and make everyone happy.