Since April, Giants fans have been itching to see their No. 2 overall pick don the Big Blue jersey, and light up MetLife Stadium. Finally, that time is here.
The Giants are set to take on the Browns for their first preseason matchup on Thursday night, and Barkley is expected to be out on the field. As for how long, it is uncertain what head coach Pat Shurmur wants to do with the high-profile rusher, but the educated guess would say not too many reps.
Those limited reps -- a teaser if you will -- should give a glimpse at how the Giants want to use Barkley this season. So far at camp, he has been lining up as a regular running back, standing in an I-formation behind QB Eli Manning. But the Giants have also thrown him on the outside to line up as a receiver.
Running routes has been a point of emphasis for the Penn State product early on at camp, and it is something he feels he can do naturally.
"I feel very comfortable running routes against anybody," he told The Post's George Willis. "I think that's where I can help this offense by being able to be an all-around every single-down back. I hope throughout camp and throughout the years here, I [can] continue to get better at that."
Barkley has been repeating the phrase "maximize every rep" as he gets ready for his first taste of the NFL. And Manning wants to maximize every opportunity he gets to play with Barkley early on in the preseason.
He has been testing the 21-year-old, and so far, he's passing.
"I'm asking him questions, challenging him and getting him to understand seeing coverages, seeing defense, and safety rotations and things like that so he understands his protections and what's going on," Manning said. "He's a smart kid and he's learned the offense. I've been impressed by the way he sees things, the way he reacts after catching the ball and making moves. I'm excited to see him in a full-speed situation."