The debate about the Giants' No. 2 pick from last year's NFL Draft rages on even a year later, with some still believing that Dave Gettleman and Co. should've taken a quarterback, perhaps the Jets' Sam Darnold, instead of running back Saquon Barkley.
Barkley is aware that such talk still exists and had this to say about it on Thursday.
"Yes. I understand that. I don't care for their opinions or anything, I can't change those opinions. Not being cocky or anything, but if a Rookie of the Year doesn't sway that mindset, then I don't know what will," Barkley said.
"My mindset is to continue to prove to the people in this locker room and in this building that they got the right guy. Not only the right guy because I can break off an 80-yard touchdown, because there are a lot of people in the league that can do that, but as a guy that can buy in and take that leadership role, I believe that I have been able to show that so far and I have been able to take that to a whole different level."
Gettleman offered effusive praise of Barkley ahead of last year's draft and talked about wanting to get a "gold jacket" kind of player, and he went with Barkley even though Eli Manning is nearing the end of his career and there were several highly rated quarterbacks in last year's draft. There's a question of whether he'll even take a QB this year while holding the No. 6 and No. 17 picks.
The 22-year-old Barkley was named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl after leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 2,028.
Barkley wonders why Giants fans are frustrated with the Giants' current state of affairs.
"In my opinion, we have a great team, a great quarterback, great offensive line, great running back and great wide receivers, so on and so on," he said. "We figured it out somewhat in the second half last year. We have that mindset and that belief about team, toughness and together. We could have a great season this year."