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Giants Now: Saquon lands on ESPN's Top 100


Saquon Barkley lands at No. 16 on ESPN's top 100 players list

Giants running back Saquon Barkley has had a great start to his NFL career. After being selected with the second overall pick in the 2018 draft, the Bronx native went on to play all 16 games and accumulated 2,028 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns as a rookie. Barkley set the NFL record for receptions by a rookie running back with his 91 catches and the record for most 100+ yards from scrimmage games by a rookie with 12. He joined Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James as the only players to reach 2,000 yards from scrimmage in their rookie season.

Not only did Barkley set numerous Giants rookie records that year, but he also took home several accolades, including the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year award, the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award and the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year award. He was also selected to the 2019 Pro Bowl.

Injuries marred his 2019 campaign, but Barkley was still able to put up impressive numbers. In 13 games, the talented back took 217 carries for 1,003 yards and six touchdowns while adding 52 receptions for 438 yards and two additional scores. He became the first running back in Giants history to rush for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons.

A panel of 46 ESPN NFL experts put together a list of the top 100 players heading into the 2020 season. Barkley landed at No. 16 in these rankings and was the second-highest running back on the list, trailing only Carolina's Christian McCaffrey.

As ESPN's Jordan Raanan writes, "There aren't many running backs who can top 1,000 yards rushing in a down year that was marred by injury. But Barkley is that talented. Now throw that talent into an offense that will put an even greater focus on the Giants' most dangerous skill position player, and it sets him up for a huge season in Jason Garrett's running back-friendly system."

The ESPN article goes on to mention Barkley's signature stat, which is that he had five rushes last season that reached 20+ miles per hour, second most in the league.

"If he stays healthy, he's the best running back in the game," said an anonymous NFC executive. "Most dynamic. He can score any time he touches the ball. He has proven that."

View photos of Giants running back Saquon Barkley's time with the New York Giants.

NFL, NFLPA announce latest testing results

The National Football League and NFL Players Association announced yesterday the COVID-19 monitoring testing results for August 21-August 29.

During this period, players and Tier 1 and 2 personnel were tested daily. Tier 3 individuals were tested weekly. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 follow the joint NFL-NFLPA Treatment Protocol. They are immediately isolated, not permitted access to club facilities, or have direct contact with players or personnel. Club medical staff are in regular communication with individuals who test positive to monitor symptoms.

Monitoring Testing results for August 21 – August 29:

58,621 tests were administered to a total of 8,739 players and team personnel.

23,279 tests were administered to 2,747 players; 35,342 tests were administered to 5,992 personnel.

There were four new confirmed positive tests among players and six new confirmed positives among other personnel.

Giants rookies (and Joe Judge) get muddy in fumble drill

The Giants' rookies got down and dirty at the end of practice today and the players and coaches loved it.

Following the traditional conditioning runs at the end of the workout, a not-so standard piece of equipment was brought out – a hose, which was used to soak a portion of the field. As the patch of grass became increasingly muddy, footballs were thrown down and a succession of rookies had to recover the "fumbles."

"It was a ball security drill," veteran linebacker Markus Golden said.

The exercise began benignly enough with head groundskeeper Rob Davis holding the hose. Safety Jabrill Peppers soon grabbed it and did his best to increase the mud's slickness and thickness.

That apparently didn't satisfy safety Nate Ebner, who took charge – and the hose – and sprayed the players' jerseys and helmets, and sometimes their faces, as they tried to secure the football. Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, Prince Smith, Tavien Feaster and Chris Williamson were among those who received the full Ebner. Lemieux enjoyed it so much he was a two-time repeater.

Defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson took turns with the hose as several coaches did their best to recover the ball, including Sean Spencer, Kevin Sherrer and Mike Treier.

Like all good shows, this one had a memorable ending. With the players chanting, "Joe, Joe, Joe," coach Joe Judge removed his whistle and took a deep dive into the muck as the entire team cheered. The coach showed everyone how it's done by smothering the ball.

"Just making sure everybody knows how to cover the ball but mixed with a little bit of fun," Golden said. "Had the water running, had the mud out there. It was pretty exciting. That was my first time seeing something like that. I was hyped up and excited to watch it. Had all the rookies go, and then we ended it with coach Judge. That was big time. Coach Judge, he knows how to do it. He's coaching us about ball security and he proved that what he does works because he got out there and did it himself.

"It was fun just to see him actually get out there and do it, too. It's fun. It shows you that football is hard work, but there's nothing wrong mixing a little fun into it. That was really exciting. Everybody got excited. It was fun. It was a fun way to end practice."