This article is part of our Payne's Perspective series.
Saquon Barkley opened a lot of eyes Friday at the Combine, posting a 4.40 40 – seen here – a 41-inch vertical leap and 29 reps at the 225-pound bench press – seen here. Immediately, social media and "experts" everywhere compared these marks to current NFL stars, showing how dominant Barkley's performance was.
However, in many cases this was grabbing low-hanging fruit using Combine stats from superstars who did not perform up to their potential. Unless you think Barkley would be a better offensive lineman than Joe Thomas (28 reps at the bench press) because he did better at the Combine. Of course, this could also mean that the stats from the Combine can be extremely overrated as well, at least in certain cases.
But who is Saquon Barkley? Barkley was born in the Bronx on Feb. 9, 1997, putting him just a shade older than 21. His family moved to Bethlehem, Penn., where he rushed for 1,856 yards with 31 touchdowns as high school senior. As a result, he was considered a four-star recruit (three-star by Scout) and committed to Rutgers. However, coach James Franklin convinced Barkley to de-commit from Rutgers and attend Penn State, something Barkley later said was one of the hardest decisions he ever made. What many don't realize is Rutgers, for whatever reason, had 13 players de-commit that 2014 season.
In three years at Penn State, Barkley rushed for at least 1,076 yards each season and had 3,801 yards from scrimmage with 44