Is Saquon Barkley a player the Giants can’t afford to lose (again)?

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When New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley went down with a torn ACL in Week 2 last season, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was sent scrambling.

Barkley was expected to be the focal point of Garrett’s offense, but that plan was quickly scrapped. The Giants were forced to adjust on the fly and coupled with an inexperienced offensive line and lacking playmakers, things did not go well.

The Giants finished the season as one of the lowest-scoring offenses in football and Barkley’s presence was sorely missed. For that reason, Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports lists Barkley as the one non-quarterback the Giants can ill afford to lose (again) in 2021.

New York Giants: RB Saquon Barkley

This one’ll have some people up in arms, in part because Barkley’s a RB and in part because he’s been on a downward trend, physically and statistically. Both Leonard Williams and James Bradberry are arguably more important to what they’re doing, especially on an underrated defense. But 2021 is about helping Daniel Jones as much as possible, and few things would do that more than a healthy, recharged Barkley, who can contribute as both a power runner and pass-catching playmaker.

The Giants have added quality depth at the running back position as a measure of insurance, but there’s no denying Barkley’s game-changing talent when healthy. And considering how well the defense played a season ago and how much deeper it is this year, they could probably absorb a big loss better than the offense could — although the Giants would simply prefer health.

Barkley is expected to be eased back into things at a slow pace. He’s unlikely to get much work in training camp and may be limited to start the season.

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