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ESPN thinks Saquon Barkley is a better projection over the next three years than Ezekiel Elliott

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Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

An annual offseason tradition across NFL media is for people to assemble their best players under the age of 25.

Football is typically a young man’s game, especially considering players on rookie contracts are so much cheaper, so this is a fascinating line to draw for potential discussions. It’s commonplace and we’ve seen iterations of it over the last few years with varying members of the Cowboys (typically offensive linemen) on it.

ESPN polled 43 of their NFL insiders in order to determine who their under 25 all-star team was. Some answers won’t shock you, but remember that the player must be under 25 years old to qualify.

The quarterback is Deshaun Watson, Tyreek HIll is the first receiver, Joey Bosa is the primary pass rusher, those are all obvious choices. The primary running back is Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams, and at the very least that’s an understandable lead back.

It’s the second running back that is puzzling. Ezekiel Elliott turns 23 in the next week, and last time I checked 23 is under the age of 25. In spite of this ESPN prefers New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley over him.

Percentage of vote: 46.5

A projection for the 21-year-old Barkley based off a sterling career at Penn State, the Giants are hopeful that a skill set highlighted by an abundance of power, soft hands in the passing game and uncommon return skills will yield immediate returns. His polish on and off the field boosted his case as a can’t-miss draft prospect.

ESPN states that these answers are given with projections over the next three seasons factored in. In what universe does Saquon Barkley behind that porous Giants offensive line project to be better than Zeke behind the Tyron Smith and Co.?

There’s been a lot of undervaluing going on in regards to the Cowboys across the national landscape this season. Last week they were accused of having the worst “offensive arsenal”, but this (as silly as this sounds) not factoring in the Cowboys dominant offensive line or Dak Prescott.

While it’s at the very least understandable if people are hesitant to believe in the new Cowboys wide receivers, tight ends, or Dak Prescott rebounding, if there’s any point of stability and dominance in Dallas it’s their ability to run the ball with the offensive line and specifically Ezekiel Elliott.

Saquon Barkley is a very talented running back and it makes sense that he will have a fine NFL career. It isn’t a demerit against his case though to say that as of right now there isn’t one ounce of logic to support that he will be better than Zeke over the next three years.


Who do you think will be better over the next three years?

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    Ezekiel Elliott
    (2453 votes)
  • 10%
    Saquon Barkley
    (292 votes)
2745 votes total Vote Now