Saquon Barkley won’t have to introduce himself to Odell Beckham Jr. The two already are friendly and familiar with each other.
“Odell and I started our relationship kind of in the offseason,” Barkley said on Thursday night. “After the Combine, I went out to L.A. to train and that’s where he’s at and we kind of just hit it off.”
So much so that about an hour before the draft, Beckham posted a picture of his own selection as a first-round pick in the draft and tagged Barkley in it. Perhaps that was just hope. Perhaps it was a hint. Either way, it’s now a reality.
Barkley and Beckham were on Facetime together shortly after the pick. Barkley also heard from Eli Manning shortly after he was officially selected.
“He said congratulations and if I ever need anything, let him know,” Barkley said. “And let’s get ready to work.”
The combination of Barkley and Beckham may be a nice friendship, but on the field, it should be explosive. They’ll also have Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram.
“The players you just named are very talented and you’ve got that offense led with Eli Manning, a proven quarterback in the NFL with Super Bowl rings,” Barkley said. “OBJ at wide receiver, probably the best wide receiver in the NFL. Being able to surround yourself with that talent, you’ve got a standard to hold, you’ve got a standard to come into, and you’ve got to raise your level of competition and raise your level of talent to compete with those guys and to be able to help that offense out at a young age.”
Barkley said he already has spoken with Beckham a little bit about dealing with celebrity now that he’ll be one of the top players in the country’s largest media market. Beckham has not always made the right decisions in regard to that, and it seemed that was part of his message.
“We built a great relationship and he welcomed me in with open arms and gave me great advice, the good things and the bad things,” Barkley said. “I feel like it’s important to learn from people’s mistakes and he’s the guy at the top of the game right now and everyone’s looking at him. So I’d be dumb not to try to learn from the lessons he has taught me and told me.”