The amount of young talent that is flourishing in the NFL at the moment is extremely fun to watch. Take Patrick Mahomes winning his first Super Bowl last season and taking home the MVP award the season prior, or Lamar Jackson securing an MVP himself in just his second year in the league.
Also among them is Saquon Barkley, the Giants running back who is arguably the best at his position in the game.
But where does No. 26 fall among the young superstars?
Pro Football Focus made its Top 25 list of the best players in the NFL under the age of 25, and Barkley fell in at No. 13 overall. Here's the explanation:
"Barkley's inclusion on this list is based on the obvious talent he showcased as a rookie in 2018 rather than the relatively disappointing, injury-plagued sophomore campaign we saw from him this past season. As a rookie in 2018, Barkley's 86.3 receiving grade was a top-five mark at the position, and his 31 missed tackles forced after the catch led all NFL players by eight. That elusiveness -- both as a runner and a receiver -- is what makes him so dynamic in open space and what earns him a spot on this list."
As PFF pointed out, his ranking on the list might've been higher if he replicated in 2019 what he did in 2018 during his rookie year. Barkley suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and though he returned extremely quickly compared to others that had suffered that same injury in the past, he didn't seem like his regular self.
And by that I mean he only rushed for 1,003 yards and caught 52 receptions for 438 yards with eight total touchdowns over 13 games. But after collecting over 2,000 total yards from scrimmage during his rookie season (1,307 rushing, 721 receiving) with 15 total touchdowns, it was a "down year" for the Penn State product.
At 23 years old, though, Barkley still has years left to prove he is the best back in the game. There's no denying his ability to make defenders miss and be a human highlight reel on any given Sunday. And in Year 2, he showcased his leadership qualities as well -- not making excuses about his play due to his injury and being more vocal on the sidelines among the examples.
Giants GM Dave Gettleman said he saw a gold jacket in Barkley's future, which is why he couldn't pass on him at No. 2 overall in 2018. After just two seasons, you can honestly see why. And that goes for the rest of the players on this list.
Barkley still has a ways to go until a potential Canton trip, but he's started off on the right track and has quickly become a football staple not just in New York, but across the country.