It takes a lot for a team to draft a dynamic, exciting, do-just-about-everything player, see him live up to or exceed just about every on-field expectation the organization and the outside world had for him, and still have people wonder if the pick was a mistake.
Yet that’s the situation the Giants find themselves in these days.
While no one questions the talent of Saquon Barkley, selected with the second overall pick in the draft, he’ll forever be judged not against players at his position but by quarterbacks. Namely, the ones the Giants could have taken with that selection, and the one with whom he is beginning his Giants career.
Still, they have no apparent regrets about their decision to draft him.
“The idea that Saquon Barkley was a mistake?” Pat Shurmur said on Friday with a wince of confusion. “I don’t see the logic in that. And I just told you that I believe in Eli [Manning].”
Barkley has been one of the few consistent bright spots in an otherwise dismal season. Maybe the only one. That there are many who openly doubt if the Giants should have drafted him speaks more to the holes in the rest of the roster than it says about Barkley.
In Thursday’s loss, Barkley ran for 130 yards on 13 carries, including a 50-yard run for the Giants’ only touchdown, and caught nine passes for 99 yards. He fell one receiving yard short of becoming the first player in Giants history with at least 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same game. His 229 yards from scrimmage was the seventh-highest total in Giants history.
“Doesn’t matter to me,” Barkley said after the game. “We didn’t get the win. To be completely honest, I don’t care. As long as we get the win, I don’t care for however many yards, or even if I went for 30 yards. If we got the win, I would be satisfied, but at the end of the day, we didn’t, so none of that matters.”
Until they do start winning with Barkley, there will be plenty who will continue to believe the Giants missed out and messed up when they selected someone who eventually could become one of the most talented players in franchise history… and yet a constant reminder of what could have been.