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Saquon Barkley ready to make an impact


The Giants selected Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick:

It must be some cake when being drafted second overall to the New York Football Giants is considered the "icing on top." But it has been one sweet week for Saquon Barkley.

The running back out of Penn State became a father to a baby girl two days before draft night, when he became the highest running back drafted since Reggie Bush in 2006.

"Yeah, it's honestly incredible, it's amazing," Barkley said on his first conference call with the Giants' media contingent. "First and foremost, you're blessed for the opportunity of fatherhood and being able to have a daughter, a beautiful daughter, and being able to raise her and try to set an example and a standard for her of how she should be treated by a man and how she should follow her life.

"But then the icing on top and the cherry on top, to be able to get drafted to New York, the New York Giants -- how well known this franchise is and known for the four Super Bowl rings and championships and being able to come home, this is the place I was born. I was born in New York, I was born in the Bronx and … and I'm just happy I'm able to stay close and be able to play for such a prestigious franchise."

General manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur have not been shy about their fondness for Barkley, as well as the running back position in general. In his pre-draft meetings with the team, Barkley felt that.

"You see all the reports and you hear all the reports, but I got a feeling after the visit, when I got to formally meet all of the coaches and GM and everybody in the building. Leaving there, I just felt like that's home," Barkley said. "That's the place where I wanted to be. Obviously in the draft, you don't decide where you want to go, but if I had to pick, that would be the place that I would pick. Walking into that facility and you see the four Super Bowl rings just hanging in a trophy case, that right there just shows you the mindset and the standard of that place. And that's where you want to be and that's a place you want to be a part of."

Shortly after getting the call from the front office, Barkley heard from two cornerstones of the team – Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. Pretty soon, they will be on the field together, a combination Shurmur dreams about at night.

"[They are] very talented and you've got that offense led with Eli Manning, a proven quarterback in the NFL with Super Bowl rings," Barkley said. "OBJ at wide receiver, probably the best wide receiver in the NFL. Being able to surround yourself with that talent, you've got a standard to hold, you've got a standard to come into and you've got to raise your level of competition and raise your level of talent to compete with those guys and to be able to help that offense out at a young age." 

That doesn't mean Barkley is expecting to be handed a starting job when he jumps into the offseason program. The Giants already have two of their former draft picks (Wayne Gallman and Paul Perkins) and a newly-signed veteran (Jonathan Stewart) at his position on the roster.

"I want to earn everything," Barkley said. "I want to earn everything. If I'm not doing what's needed to be done to get that starting job, than I don't want it. I'm a big believer in competition and I know there's a lot of great backs there already. I believe Jonathan Stewart is there and I'm looking forward to being able to pick his brain and learn from him. He's been in the NFL for a long time and I know there's a lot of things that I can learn. But no, I don't expect to start. I expect to come in and work and earn my job."

Of course, expectations can also be a burden.

Barkley will now be juggling fatherhood with all that comes as a high draft pick for a team coming off a 13-loss season in the one of the largest media markets in the world.

"Listen, he's a wonderful kid and there is going to be a load on him," Gettleman said.

"The advice I'm going to give Saquon when I see him tomorrow, I'm going to tell him to be Saquon. That is it. That's all that I want you to be. I don't want you to be everything to everybody. Just understand that you take care of your football, the world will be at your feet."

And all the desserts that come with it.

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