The 2018 campaign has come to an end for the New York Giants, but awards season is just beginning for Saquon Barkley.
Pro Football Focus named the rookie running back to its All-Pro Team, where he was joined by teammate and kicker Aldrick Rosas as first-team selections. Barkley led the NFL with 2,028 yards from scrimmage, and Rosas missed just one field goal this season on 33 attempts. Both were voted to the 2019 Pro Bowl last month.
“Statistics say the draft is often a crapshoot, but that’s not the case with a player like Saquon Barkley,” PFF’s Michael Renner wrote. “The Giants running back was as advertised his rookie season after being drafted number two overall. His 71 combined broken tackles were the most of any player in the NFL.”
Christian McCaffrey, who was also drafted by general manager Dave Gettleman during his tenure in Carolina, was named to the second team at the position. He led all running backs this season with 107 receptions. Barkley was second with 91, which tied Odell Beckham Jr.’s franchise rookie record and broke Reggie Bush’s league rookie record for a rookie running back.
That was only the tip of the iceberg for the 21-year-old Bronx native. Barkley is the third rookie in NFL history with 2,000 yards from scrimmage, and his 13 games with 100 scrimmage yards tied Eric Dickerson’s NFL rookie record. Barkley finished with 15 total touchdowns, including a franchise rookie record of 11 on the ground.
Kicking the extra points on those scores was Rosas, who set a Giants field goal accuracy record at 97.0 percent. He finished one-tenth of a percent behind San Francisco’s Robbie Gould, who led the league. Like Rosas, Gould missed just one but had one more attempt.
“Rosas turned things around in a big way in 2018,” Renner wrote. “He went 31-32 on extra points and 32-33 on field goals with his only miss coming from 50+. This comes after a year in which he only went 18-25 on his field goal attempts.”
Barkley, who was drafted in between quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, was the frontrunner for Offensive Rookie of the Year for much of the season. Mayfield seemed to close the gap down the stretch as he surpassed Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson for the most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback in the common draft era. For what it’s worth, Mayfield finished with a PFF grade of 84.5. Barkley was 85.9. The winner will be announced on the eve of Super Bowl LIII at NFL Honors, the league’s annual awards show.