Area celebrates Barkley to Giants
Saquon Barkley will be trading in his Nittany Lion navy blue for a slightly lighter shade after the New York Giants selected the Coplay running back with the second pick in the NFL Draft.
Watch parties were set up across the area on Thursday, April 26, to see where the former Whitehall Zephyr would land. Fans would not have to wait long to hear Barkley’s name called.
In an interview with Giants.com, New York general manager Dave Gettleman said, “Once Cleveland took Baker (Mayfield) I told our guys, ‘Don’t even waste your time. We’re taking Saquon and we’re going to run’.”
Organizers of the March 24 Saquon Barkley Day celebration held a gathering at the American Club of Coplay. Attendees included Rep. Jeanne McNeill and members of Coplay’s borough council.
At Samuel Owens Restaurant & Bar on Chestnut St. in Coplay, the anxious crowd trickled outside the restaurant and onto the sidewalk.
Clad in a number 26 Penn State jersey and a New York Giants hat, Tom Seddon of Allentown was confident that his favorite NFL team would take his favorite college player. As a youth football coach, Seddon encourages his players to follow in the footsteps that Barkley has laid in the Lehigh Valley.
Fifteen minutes after the pick was announced, Whitehall resident and Giants fan Martin Donohue checked the team’s website to see if Barkley’s jersey was available.
It was, and it was selling at a record pace.
According to a report from ESPN’s Darren Rovell, “Barkley sold more jerseys on draft night than any other player in history.”
The Giants confirmed that Barkley will continue to wear his number 26 from college.
New York will open its preseason schedule at home on Thursday, August 9, against the Cleveland Browns. The Giants’ first regular season game will be at home on Sept. 9 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, Oct. 11 before traveling to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, Nov. 25.
Barkley is projected to make an immediate impact on the Giants’ rushing attack that was one of the worst in the NFL last season. New York finished 26th in rushing yards, 22nd in yards per carry, and 28th in rushing touchdowns.
“I haven’t seen a guy like this in a long time and I’ve been running around doing this for 30-plus years,” Gettleman said on Giants.com. “The kid is so unique because of his size and speed.”