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2018 NFL Scouting Report: Scouting Penn State running back, Saquon Barkley

Barkley could give the Broncos a much-needed weapon in the backfield.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Penn State v Washington Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

One prospect who may interest the Denver Broncos with their 5th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft is former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. He is a 5’11”, 223lb running back who is considered one of the top players in the entire draft. Barkley is ranked as the top overall prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft according to and the top running back in the draft.

Barkley played three seasons at Penn State and turned into of the top running backs in the nation during his tenure there. During his three year career, he totaled 3,843 yards, 5.7 career YPC, and 43 rushing touchdowns. He also totaled 102 career receptions for 1,195 yards and 8 touchdowns. That is 5,038 career yards from scrimmage and 51 total career touchdowns.

This past season, Barkley totaled 1,271 yards rushing, 5.9 YPC, and 18 rushing touchdowns. He also totaled 54 receptions for 632 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Saqoun Barkley

Running Back, Junior, Penn State

Height: 5’11 Weight: 223lbs 40 time: 4.4 seconds

Arm Length: 31 3/8” Hands: 9 1/2”

Bench Press: 29 reps Vertical Jump: 41.0 inches

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.24 seconds

Film Room:

Scouting Report:


  • Prototypical running back build
  • Low center of gravity with a strong lower half
  • Tree trunks for thighs
  • Incredible balance/body control with quick feet
  • Has that quick twitch and “wiggle” you look for in explosive playmakers
  • Dangerous in the open field
  • Some Barry Sanders like moves
  • Good vision
  • Runs smooth routes and separates from linebackers and safeties
  • Soft and reliable hands
  • Multi-dimensional backs are the future in the NFL and he can be the best of the bunch
  • Has big play kick return ability
  • No off the field issues
  • A hard worker by all accounts with a good work ethic and well-liked by teammates


  • Despite his size, he isn’t a very powerful back
  • Bounces plays outside too much at times and will get too cute at times as well.
  • Will need to show better toughness with runs inside in the NFL
  • Dances too much in the backfield sometimes
  • Has occasional struggles with drops
  • Needs to improve as a pass blocker

Does Saquon Barkley makes sense for the Denver Broncos?:

If the Broncos did not need a quarterback I would be all for Barkley. However, if you need a quarterback, that moves to the top of your priority. That is why I have Barkley at 5 and not Barkley. If the Broncos signed Kirk Cousins, I would have been on the Barkley train as well. Obviously, that did not happen and the Broncos are in the quarterback market.

I do have my concerns about him being an inside runner, but if you’re drafting Barkley, that is not what you’re drafting. He’s a back who excels in space and can be a dynamic pass-catching back in the NFL.

The big reason I am comfortable passing on Barkley at 5 is the depth of this running back class. You can find a starter on day two and probably even in the early portions of day three. Keep in mind, Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt were both third-round picks last season, so you don’t need to spend an early round pick on a back.

Now if the Broncos did indeed select Barkley, I would not be all that upset. He is a dynamic playmaker who would help take the pressure off Case Keenum. While in Minnesota, he utilized the backs in the passing game and that would play to Barkley’s strength.

I’m all in on a quarterback at five but wouldn’t be upset about Barkley at 5.


Do you think the Broncos should take Saquon Barkley with the 5th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft?

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