Why Saquon Barkley Is The 2nd Coming Of LaDainian Tomlinson   

saquon barkley penn stateFirst, Todd Gurley, who was seen as the new Marshawn Lynch, then Zeke Elliot was supposed to be the new Frank Gore and then Leonard Fournette was being touted as the new Adrian Peterson.

Now Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is being compared to a back that was better than all of them: Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson.

Barkley’s the perfect complement to the bruisers that have entered the league recently like Fournette, Elliot, and Gurley.

Fournette, who came out of LSU last year, was defined as a bruising back, reminiscent of Earl Campbell and Jim Brown. 

While Fournette was the very embodiment of a north and south runner, Barkley’s completely different. Barkley’s tenacious, creative and shifty. He’s so quick that he sidesteps through his would-be tacklers instead of rumbling through them like Elliot or Fournette.

His skills set is practically identical to Tomlinson’s. Saquon’s ability to take a pass in the flat and make a guy miss in space for a big gain, the speed on the edges, the astounding jump cuts, the vision and patience to work through traffic inside makes him very close to Tomlinson’s mirror image.

Barkley also can work between the tackles, has fantastic vision, can redirect and find a new lane just on instinct, he’s improved his receiving ability and can be extremely dangerous as a receiving option out of the backfield.

When Barkley cuts through defenders he gives them a little nod that gets them out of position to make the tackle and then can jump cut as much as two full yards all the way outside to avoid the tackle and spring himself to the second level.

Those long jump cuts are possible because his hips can get real low when he’s cutting and that transforms him into a loaded spring getting ready to uncoil explosively and leave behind defenders with his speed.

Barkley’s always in that coiled spring position so as soon as he needs to explode and hit a crease he can get there immediately. He never raises his pad level too early and thus avoids losing his burst, his change-of-direction ability, and power.

What is more remarkable is the fact that he can stay in that low stance for a long time while the play develops in front of him because the stamina to be that explosive that late into games is exceptionally rare.

Being that low all the time is quite exhausting and yet it’s not surprising to see him doing it after 30 touches into a game.

Like in Tomlinson’s case those cuts are the ones that mark the difference between a good running back and a franchise cornerstone kind of back, and Barkley has all the skills, all the talent and potential to become a franchise cornerstone for a very long time for whoever decides to draft him in the 2018 NFL draft.

 

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