Because the Giants selected Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick and the Jets took Sam Darnold third overall in last year’s draft, there always will be a running tale of the tape comparing their careers. Giants and Jets fans may be arguing who got the better of the 2018 draft for the next decade or longer.
But this offseason, the Jets picked up another player for Barkley to be compared with. And the results of this pseudo-competition can be determined more directly and more regularly.
Who will be New York’s best running back, Barkley or Le’Veon Bell?
Barkley said Bell’s presence at MetLife Stadium won’t necessarily drive him or make him strive to better his crosstown counterpart.
“I don’t see it as extra motivation,” Barkley said at Giants OTAs this week. “At the end of the day, I’m competing with myself and competing to be the best for my team. I really don’t care what any other back in the league does, I just care about what is happening here.”
That said, Barkley did seem glad to have another marquee player at his position in town.
“I was a fan of him,” Barkley said. “I used to watch Le’Veon and when I got here, he was one of the first guys that I broke down his film.”
Bell’s arrival certainly gives New York two of the premier running backs in the NFL. New York City could become known as "GroundTown" if the pair start to rack up yardage at clips consistent with their past performances.
The two stars met in person once, but Barkley said they have chatted on social media a few times.
"We definitely respect each other’s games,” Barkley said. “He sat out last year and that was not good for the league in general because he is such a tremendous player. You look forward to seeing a guy like that on Sundays. For him to be here and we are playing in the same stadium, I’m excited. I’m happy for him and that he found a spot. I’m happy that he is able to show his talent. I wish nothing but the best for him.”