On the Giants first play from scrimmage Saquon Barkley electrified the Metlife Stadium crowd with a dazzling 39 yard run against the Cleveland Browns defense. While it was a preseason game against a team that has been 1-31 the last two seasons in one play Barkley demonstrated how he can be what the G-Men need at running back. It also brought back flashbacks of another former first-round Giants player that had a memorable play in his first NFL preseason game.
One of the more controversial players in NFL history was selected by the New York Giants with their first round pick 14th overall in 2002 and his name was Jeremy Shockey. Big Blue traded up to select the tight-end from Miami which was rare for Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi to do at the time. And in his first game, Shockey had a catch and run that involved battering several members of the Texans. The comparison to Giants legendary tight-end Mark Bavaro started to rain down on Shockey and the hope was the TE was the missing piece of a team that was two years removed from the NFC title.
Just looking at Shockey’s resume he had a great start to his NFL career by making the Pro Bowl four of his first five seasons. Shockey made the Pro Bowl even though in his entire career he never played in all 16 games. Injuries made Shockey miss the G-Mens playoff run to Super Bowl 42 and with the emergence of Kevin Boss, the TE was not resigned by the Giants after the 2007 season. Rejoining with former Giants offensive coordinator Sean Payton in New Orleans Shockey played three seasons in the Big Easy and picked up another Super Bowl ring. And after the 2011 season with the Carolina Panthers, the talented TE called it a career.
Shockey provided a brashness and cockiness that is not aligned with the pillars of the Giants way. If Odell Beckham Jr. made some of the comments Shockey made in public the internet would blow up. Many fans of Big Blue appreciated Shockey’s talents and play while the opposition looked at Shockey as public enemy number one. Shockey’s critics would openly voice their opinion on him and in return, Shockey would voice his opinion on everyone. Using the media the athlete would disparage his own coaches and teammates.
While Barkley still has not played in a regular season game Giants fans are hoping to have the best running back in the league they’ve had since Frank Gifford was in the backfield in the 1950s. That one play added more fans to the Barkley bandwagon and convinced some that Barkley is the real deal. Only time will tell if Saquon can deliver for the G-Men or perhaps the standards are set so high for Barkley no man can attain such feats.