The next LeSean McCoy? Ex-Penn State defender explains what makes Saquon Barkley special

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Penn State running back Saquon Barkley  is viewed by many as one of the most complete prospects to enter the NFL Draft in recent memory. 

Weighing in at 6-foot and 235 pounds , Barkley’s game film is full of explosive touchdown runs, plays where he leaps defenders and sticks the landing before keeping on running, and catches both out of the backfield or from the slot that have blown games wide open. 

Barkley’s production at Penn State is impressive, but given the fact that he was often used as a decoy on run-pass options in the Nittany Lions offense and frequently out of the game by the fourth quarter during his junior season, his numbers could have been even more eye-popping than the 5,038 total yards from scrimmage and 51 touchdowns over three seasons. 

Similarly to the NFL career that the 5-foot-11 and 210 pound McCoy has built, Barkley is a threat to score as a runner, a receiver, or after having the ball directly snapped to him largely because of his ability to cut on a dime and burst upfield. 

“The thing is, he’s a complete-back,” Cabinda said. “He blocks in the running game. He blocks in the passing game. He does it all. I think that’s what makes it special.”

Now the two, who have both had their fair share of playoff disappointments, will try to carry their regular-season success into the postseason when the Rockets open a first-round series with Minnesota on Sunday night.

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The guards have been effusive in their praise for one another, with Harden recently joking that his relationship with the nine-time All-Star was “love at first sight.” Paul didn’t go quite that far, but a huge smile crossed his often serious face when asked how their pairing has worked.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “You just (don’t) get this opportunity too often in a career to play with somebody like James … you get a chance to appreciate greatness.

“What he’s doing on a nightly basis and stuff like that, it’s crazy and I’m in awe,” Paul continued. “I’m grateful I get to play alongside him.”

When told of what Paul said about him, Harden was quick to answer.

“You can tell,” he said. “It feels like it’s been forever but it’s not even been a year yet.”

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