People will be talking for years about Saquon Barkley’s almost super-human efforts during the NFL Scouting Combine workouts at Indianapolis last week.
They’ll rave about the former Penn State running back blazing through the 40-yard dash in 3.3 seconds, having 29 reps in the bench press and then doing a 41-inch vertical jump.
‘I wanted to kill the interviews’
But for Barkley, it was what he did behind closed doors that was even more impressive: the 15-minute interviews with each team that requested one with him.
“That was the most important part of the Combine, in my mind, and that’s the part I think I did the best at,” Barkley told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on Late Hits. “A lot of people loved what I did on the field and, obviously, I agree and disagree with some people here and there. I wanted to do a little better in certain areas. I still think I can grow in a lot of those areas … but I wanted to kill the interviews. I think that’s the most important part.
‘I drew coverages and drew our plays that we brought to beat those coverages’
“In my meetings, when I was asked to go on the board, I was able to go up there and explain a six-man protection. A team showed me their protection and then wanted me to go back and do it. I was able to do that. I felt really comfortable. I drew coverages and drew our plays that we brought to beat those coverages. That was something I really wanted to dominate.”
As a young fan of the game, Barkley would watch television coverage of the Combine and envision himself doing what college prospects did on the field, never realizing there were other elements of the event that were every bit as important.
‘You want to leave a lasting impression on the coaches’
“Obviously, you want to kill it (on the field) and show them that you’re athletic enough and (put) that athletic ability to use and do it on a national stage,” he said. “But you also want to kill the interviews. You want to leave a lasting impression on the coaches.”
Barkley is unsure about whether he will do anything at his Penn State Pro Day. However, he intends to make every pre-draft visit with clubs.
‘Even if that team doesn’t draft you at that point, four and five years later, you could be in a free-agent market’
“(You want to) treat every visit like that’s the team that could draft you,” he said. “And you never know. Even if that team doesn’t draft you at that point, four and five years later, you could be in a free-agent market or that coach could be a new coach and you get traded somewhere, so you want to leave a lasting impression on every coach you talk to.”
Barkley also said it’s important not to rest on the laurels of his Combine showing. He fully intends to stay in the best physical shape he can between now and when he reports to the team that selects him.
‘You’ve got to continue to find time, to continue to work your putt off’
“A lot of vets and a lot of NFL guys I talk to, even coaches, when I ask for advice and they say when people are done with the Combine, they think that’s it,” Barkley said. “They think they’ve made it. They think, ‘Oh, now, I’ve just got to get to the draft, I did what I had to do.’ But no. You’ve still got work to do. … You’ve got to continue to find time, to continue to work your butt off and push yourself every day.”