NY Giants reporter Art Stapleton reflects on 2018 season.
Amy Newman, NorthJersey
Awards season has begun for Saquon Barkley, and he’s picked up his first honor.
The Giants’ sensational running back has been named Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Pro Football Writers Association. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield was voted Rookie of the Year by the PFWA, likely signaling more split votes coming for the players who were selected 1-2 in the NFL Draft back in April.
Barkley joins Odell Beckham Jr. (2014) as the only players in franchise history to win the award. Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 1981.
Barkley and Mayfield are also finalists for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year – voted on by the fans – and remain the favorites to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award given out by the league on the eve of Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta next month during its NFL Honors program.
Colts linebacker Darius Leonard was voted PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Barkley led the NFL with 2,028 scrimmage yards and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and Edgerrin James (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history. Barkley recorded 91 receptions in 2018, the most by a rookie running back in league history.
Barkley finished with 352 touches this season as a rookie and did not fumble, and that makes it 815 touches combined since he last had a fumble his sophomore year against Maryland.
He joins guard Will Hernandez on the PFWA’s All-Rookie team.
Hernandez, the Giants’ second-round pick, played every offensive snap this season.
Mayfield set the record for touchdown passes by a rookie with 27, a mark previously shared by Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson. Mayfield’s 3,725 passing yards ranked sixth all-time among rookies, but that total was in 13 starts, three fewer than the five quarterbacks ahead of him.
Mayfield threw at least one touchdown pass in each of his 13 starts. He trails only Kurt Warner (23) and Brad Johnson (15) for the most consecutive starts to an NFL career with a touchdown pass. He also is the first Browns quarterback to throw a touchdown in 13 consecutive starts since 1966.