Northampton Press

Monday, October 15, 2018

Barkley quickly fits in at NYG camp

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

Along with being the second overall pick in the recent NFL draft, Saquon Barkley couldn’t be happier with his new surroundings in the Jersey Meadowlands.

In fact on the first day of the team’s recent three-day OTA workouts, Barkley was the first player to arrive and the last player to leave the New York Giants’ training complex.

He already has developed into a staple in the greater New York area.

“This is where I wanted to be,” said the former Whitehall standout. “I am a hard worker, I am willing to learn, and I am coachable.

“Obviously, it is a new system for me and for everyone it is going to be different. Everyone will have struggles, but I am willing to learn and I am coachable. I am going to try and lead at a young age and start working with the young guys, the rookies.”

“I know I have to start leading by example. I try to be one of the first one I and one of the last one out.”

Barkley’s quick adaptation to the NFL and his blue-collar approach has helped further energize a revitalized Giants’ camp that has welcomed a number of new faces who realize Barkley’s potential.

One is veteran running back Jonathan Stewart, a former Carolina Panthers’ standout who potentially could form a dynamic backfield with Barkley, whose 230-pound frame allow him to be a blocker as well as a back and receiver.

Along with Barkley’s speed and flexibility running the ball, Stewart immediately noticed his ability as a receiver out of the backfield.

“He’s a smart player who picks things up really fast,” said Stewart. “He’s explosive and really good at route running. That’s one of the things that he is focusing on.

“You can immediately see that in him.”

Barkley also has drawn attention from heralded wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who is the midst of a possible contested contract talks with the club. He has become a close friend with Beckham and the duo spoke about the chances of them transforming into one of the league’s most explosive combinations.

“When I used to hang out with Odell, I told him that I was going to be a Giant,” said Barkley. “He is a special person and the way he prepares is very admirable. I believe we can have an impact in this league.

“But it is not just our show. There is enough talent on this team.”

Barkley certainly passed his first test with high marks. He’ll get another look in mid-June at the team’s minicamp before training camp opens in late July.

“Saquon is still a rookie,” said Giants’ head coach Pat Shurmur. “He wants to compete and learn at a high level regardless of what my expectations are about him. He has to come out here and train and do it.

“That’s what great about him. He has a rookie mindset that is about most of the rest. It will be some interesting camps ahead.”