NY Giants roster: How will Saquon Barkley lead (and return to) running backs?

Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants (Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images)
Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants (Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images) /
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The NY Giants’ running backs need to improve on their successes from 2021, and should be getting a boost from Saquon Barkley’s return.

The NY Giants had a surprise and unexpected run game in 2020. Before the season, it would’ve been nearly impossible to believe that Saquon Barkley wouldn’t lead the team or even be top three in carries, yards, and touchdowns.

However, that’s how the season went after some unexpected injuries and bad luck. The Giants went through the season with multiple running backs who carried different roles as the season went on with new expectations and some surprise contributions.

Here, we break down the NY Giants’ running backs and what to expect from their ground attack in 2021.

NY Giants 2021 Starting Running Back: Saquon Barkley, Penn State

Saquon Barkley will enter 2021 as again the team’s unquestioned leader at running back and will be leaned on heavily to carry this offense.

Barkley missed nearly the entire 2020 season with a torn ACL suffered in Week 2. In Barkley’s absence, the Giants turned to a free agent in Devonta Freeman alongside Dion Lewis. From there, Freeman was injured and along with Lewis’s inefficiency, it led to the breakout of Wayne Gallman.

Barkley has been aggressively rehabbing towards his return from ACL surgery and is expected to be back for Week 1.

The NY Giants will likely work Saquon back slowly into the offense to avoid injury and urge on the side of caution.

When healthy, Barkley is the NFL’s premier home run hitter and tackle-breaker at running back. He is lightning in a bottle who can turn any run into an 80-yard scamper with some highlight reel cuts, jukes, hurdles, and head fakes along the way.

Barkley is the team’s most talented player on offense.

He has the god-given talent to do things with the football in his hand and make guys miss that you can’t teach or coach. If he stays healthy, expect Saquon to return to Pro Bowl or All-Pro form if his offensive line creates the holes needed for him to succeed. The expectations for #26 are sky-high as they should be for any #2 overall pick, it’s going to be a career year for Saquon Barkley.