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WATCH: Saquon Barkley looks 100% during New York Giants training camp

Star running back Saquon Barkley will be vital to the New York Giants’ success in 2021 after missing all but two games last season due to a torn ACL.

Suggestions coming out of Giants camp are that the former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year will sit out the preseason and remains questionable to go Week 1 against the Denver Broncos.

Based on what we’re seeing during summer practice, that might very well be a skeptical view of his situation. Objectively, Barkley looks to be 100% in his return to practice.

Of course, things will change once the stud running back takes contract. That has yet to happen after he was activated off the physically unable to perform list earlier on Monday.

While New York is relying on quarterback Daniel Jones to take that next step as a third-year player, it’s not an overstatement to say that Barkley is just as important to the Giants’ hopes of contending for the NFC East title.

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Saquon Barkley stats and impact on the Giants

new york giants running back saquon barkley
Running back Saquon Barkley did not have his gear on but did attend Giants practice, in East Rutherford. Wednesday, July 28, 2021 (Credit: Kevin R. Wexler-NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

The No. 2 overall pick back in 2018, Barkley jumped on to the scene as a rookie — leading the NFL in total yards from the running back position. While the Penn State product did struggle a bit as a sophomore, he was still among the best all-around backs in the game.

  • 2018: 261 attempts, 1,307 yards, 5.0 average, 91 receptions, 721 yards, 2,028 total yards, 15 touchdowns
  • 2019: 217 attempts, 1,003 yards, 4.6 average, 52 receptions, 438 yards, 1,441 total yards, eight touchdowns
  • 2020: 19 attempts, 34 yards, 1.8 average, six receptions, 60 yards, 94 total yards, zero touchdowns

As you can see, Barkley’s dual-threat ability out of the backfield had in the past proven to be an absolute boon for the Giants.

It’s going to be vital for Jones’ progression under center that Saquon Barkley comes back at 100%. The young quarterback saw a major regression as a sophomore without Barkley in the mix last season, putting up just 11 touchdowns against 10 interceptions in 14 starts.

That came following a rookie campaign in which Jones threw twice as many touchdowns (24) as interceptions (12).