Cowboys DC compares Saquon Barkley to HOFer Barry Sanders

Dec 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) points to his family on the sideline during warmups before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

The moment New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley stepped on the field for his rookie season, he quickly became one of the NFL’s best running backs.

Now a year after he made his NFL debut, he’s drawing even higher praise from one of the NFL’s coaching greats on a division rival

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli spoke to reporters on Thursday and raved about Barkley’s unique abilities. In fact, he compared Barkley’s big-play ability to Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders.

While comparing a 22-year-old coming off his rookie season to one of the NFL’s all-time greats might seem strong, the comparison makes sense. Barkley showed a stunning ability to rip off big runs with ease during the 2018 season and his ability in the open field reminded many of Sanders. It’s something Marinelli knows his team will need to be extremely cautious with.

Dallas will head into a matchup against the Giants as clear favorites to win, but Barkley is also capable of taking the game over. If Marinelli’s defense isn’t disciplined in the season opener, Barkley could put up monster numbers.