NY Giants: 5 Offensive Breakout Candidates for 2021

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Saquon Barkley – RB

As mentioned, some of these should be no brainers.

And while many people for good reason have criticized Dave Gettleman for drafting a running back with the second overall pick in 2018, everyone should be excited for Saquon Barkley to return to the field.

Barkley is a superstar. Not only does he make players around him better, but his presence alone forces opposing teams to adjust their defenses. And while Wayne Gallman did a fantastic job filling in as the starter, Barkly’s absence proved how vital he is to the Giants’ offense.

Barkley’s first year with the Giants was electric, giving him the rightful title to Offensive Rookie of the Year. He had 2028 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. And he helped bring the Giants’ offense to 17th overall in 2018, up from 21st overall in 2017.

Unfortunately for Barkley, his rookie season was the only time in three years he played all 16 games.

No one can question how important it is for him to be on the field, and there are a few interesting stats to prove it.

The Giants rushed for 1650 yards total in 2018, as mentioned before bumping the offense up to 17th overall in the league. Barkley played 16 games that season.

The Giants rushed for more yards in 2019 — 1685 total rushing yards. But their offense dropped to 23rd in the league. Barkley played 13 games that season.

The Giants rushed for 1768 total yards in 2020 — their highest total since 2012 (1862 total rushing yards). But their offense was 31st in the league, the worst its been since Barkley was drafted. He only played two full games last season.

Even though the Giants have managed to rush for more total yards in Barkley’s absence, the offense itself suffers.

The team will be better off with him in the lineup. Yes, it’s worrying that he’s suffered leg injuries two of his three seasons, his latest being a torn ACL. In a way, though, this should be a lesson the Giants should learn from.

Barkley has been a complete workhorse on a bad team with an atrocious offensive front. He’s had no help on the outside from his receivers, and his quarterback is not a threat. Teams know he’s going to get the ball, so they plan accordingly.

If the Giants were to adopt a similar system that the Cleveland Browns have, it would provide Barkley with help and longevity. Especially after the season Wayne Gallman had, the Giants would be foolish to allow a capable runner to walk.

If anyone can put in the work needed to come back from a severe injury, it’s Saquon Barkley. Regardless of the help the Giants provide for him, Barkley is slated to have a big return season. He’s hungry. Defenders beware.