Explosive. Powerful. Franchise-type. Generational.
These are all words used to describe Penn State RB Saquon Barkley.
Many more adjectives can be put on Barkley's game-changing abilities, but when pitching himself to NFL teams, the 5-foot-11, 223-pound back will describe himself as one word: competitor.
"You can ask teammates, you can ask people close to me, people around me...you're gonna get a guy who's passionate about the game," Barkley told The Post's Steve Serby. "I feel that's very important...loves the sport of football. I feel like I have a great work ethic...a leader. Definitely a competitor. I hate losing. A guys who's willing to do anything to win. I want to be one of the best."
Barkley is considered a top-five pick, and with the Jets just outside that bubble at No. 6 overall, they may not have the opportunity to select him. But that doesn't mean he wouldn't love to daunt Gang Green's uniform.
He grew up a Jets fan, and when asked how he would pitch himself to GM Mike Maccagnan, he noted his answer may seem a little biased.
"My answer would be the same, but I'll probably be a little more shy 'cause I was a Jets fan growing up, a true, true Jets fan," Barkley said. "There's been some rough years, there's been some good years, been really close a couple of years with the Mark Sanchez Era, two years in a row AFC Championship, falling short."
Though Barkley grew up in Coplay, Pennsylvania, he is technically a New York native with the Bronx written on his birth certificate. So, returning to the city he was born in would almost feel like a reunion for the 21-year-old.
"New York, New York. It's known all through the world," he said about the prospect of playing in New York. "I wasn't raised there, but I was born there. It would kind of be like going home. It's also not that far from my actual home."
Growing up, Barkley had always loved the way Hall of Famer Barry Sanders ran despite never seeing him play a down. He considers the Lions great as his football idol, which is why it's uncanny that he is being compared to him by some experts.
"Obviously I wasn't old enough to see him run and see him play, but I've seen highlights of his and how he handled himself as a person and how humble he was -- when he scored touchdowns, he'd act like he'd been there before."
Barkley also idolized his favorite Jets running back: Curtis Martin. He feels Martin never got his due.
"He's like a hidden gem," Barkley said. "A lot of people when you talk about the greatest running backs who ever played, Curtis Martin's not mentioned. He doesn't get the attention he deserves."
Though Barkley took "bits and pieces" of Sanders' and Martin's games, and even players out of football like Kobe Bryant, his father, Alibay, always told him to "never try to be exactly like someone, try to be your own person."
He did just that for the Nittany Lions in his three seasons at State College. His name is etched into the record books at Penn State after breaking the school's career rushing touchdowns record (43), and finished second in all-time rushing yards (3,843).
The records, eye-popping plays, and work ethic off the field is what makes Barkley a must-have prospect. But what does he think makes him standout above the rest?
"In college I proved I'm an every-down back," he said. "I can pass block, I can catch the ball out of the backfield, I can run physical, I can make you miss, I break tackles, I can run routes. Those are all things that an all-around player is capable of doing, and I strive to be at the next level. I'm gonna continue to work for that. I'm not happy where I'm at in my game, obviously. I'm really excited to see where I'm at my rookie year and to learn from that and grow on it."
Barkley's love for football will drive him to become "one of the best," as he put it. But whether it's football, or even chess -- a game he has taken a liking to recently -- Barkley's natural competitiveness shows.
Overall, Barkley looks like no other prospect in this year's draft -- or any other draft recently for that matter. His game tape shows amazing bursts of speed in the open field, missed tackles galore, and brusing power on one-on-one collisions.
So, is there anything that makes Barkley look somewhat comparable to these other prospects? Well, there is the promise that so many players make to their mother once they make it to the show.
"I promised my mom I would buy her a house at a young age, and I'm gonna stick to my promise," Barkley said about his mother, Tonya Jackson. "Me and my family have been through a lot, and God blessed me with the opportunity to be in a position to do that."
That opportunity could come in a Giants uniform next season.