Eagles Prospect Spotlight: Saquon Barkley

Sep 16, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State fans were out in support of Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) (not pictured) prior to the game against the Georgia State Panthers at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

As the Eagles do look like a possible playoff team this year. There is always room for improvement. The best ways to make these improvements is in the draft. The 2018 NFL Draft is still eight months away, but it is never too early to look at prospects who would help this team take the next step. So let’s start off with a top tier level talent that isn’t too far away.

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Eagles Prospect Spotlight: Saquon Barkley

It is pretty evident that the Eagles are missing a bell cow running back. So why not spend a first rounder on it? The most well-known running back going into this draft is Saquon Barkley and for all the right reasons. Barkley came onto the scene as a freshman in which he posted a 1,000 yard plus season and eight touchdowns. His most notable game which really put him in the spotlight was the nationally televised game against Ohio State. He didn’t have a touchdown in this blowout loss but he carried the ball 26 times for 194 yards. This really made the NCAA notice him as he showed the ability to become a future bell cow running back. Don’t forget that this Ohio State team was rated number one at the time and had the likes of Joey Bosa on defense. Last season is where he helped Penn State make a huge leap to a borderline playoff team. Saquon put up 1,496 yards on 272 carries last year to go with a whopping 22 touchdowns. 18 of them were from the ground and four were through the air. He had a huge performance in the Rose Bowl against Sam Darnold and the USC Trojans. Barkley totaled an astonishing 249 yards on 30 touches to go on with three touchdowns. Through three games this year, the future first rounder has put up 548 yards from scrimmage on 49 touches with five touchdowns. 307 of them came on the ground in which he averaged 8.1 YPC on 38 attempts, with three touchdowns. He also has proved to be an essential part of the passing game as he has 241 yards on 11 receptions and two touchdowns. Barkley is also a viable blocker. Bleacher Report’s, Greg Wallace, compared the Penn State running back to Matt Forte during his heyday.

The Eagles have struggled mightily running the ball this year as their leading rusher after two games is quarterback Carson Wentz. Now the line hasn’t faired too well, mostly Isaac Seumalo. Free agent acquisition LeGarrette Blount hasn’t panned out the way everyone visioned him to so far. Wendell Smallwood has really struggled and Darren Sproles is way too old to handle a big workload. Unless Corey Clement breaks out in the upcoming weeks, Howie Roseman will need to address the running back position. Carson Wentz cannot throw over 40 times every game as it will increase the chance of him getting an injury and will hurt his progression. An improved running game will also help the Eagles take the next step. Barkley would be a great fit in Doug Pederson’s offense. He can run between the tackles and to the edge. He can also take over the third down role as Darren Sproles is most likely going to retire this upcoming year. Bottom line is that Saquon Barkley is the complete package and should be able to become a bell cow in the league. Barkley is projected top 10 pick right now barring a freak injury or mental issue. Eagles better hope that he can fall to them but that would most likely require them to miss the playoffs. If they do make the playoffs the Eagles can do a trade up into the earlier part of the first round to keep sure they get him. There is always hope.

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