Barkley lived up to the hype befitting a No. 2 overall draft pick in New York's preseason opener, rumbling 39 yards on his first carry in a 20-10 loss to the visiting Cleveland Browns.
The former Penn State standout finished with 43 yards on five rushes but it was his opening run, in which he deftly cut back and eluded multiple defenders before showing an outstanding burst, that likely had New York fans salivating.
"Just a run, let's not go berserk yet, alright?" observed Giants quarterback Eli Manning with a smile, per NJ.com. "It was a good run. Offensive line blocked things well. Had a good cut-back. Good play."
The preseason matchup featured a juicy subplot with Barkley going up against the Browns, who used the No. 1 overall pick to take quarterback Baker Mayfield.
New York's ground game was a train wreck last season and Barkley was viewed as the perfect fit after amassing 1,271 yards and 18 touchdowns last season for the Nittany Lions. He also showed he was a three-down back with 54 receptions.
The 6-foot-3, 233-pound Barkley continued to rocket up draft boards after lighting up the 2018 NFL Combine with a spectacular workout, including a 4.40 40-yard dash and a 41-inch vertical jump.
Following his debut, Barkley hardly sounded like a rookie, telling reporters that he didn't experience the expected pregame jitters.
"It felt weird, the feelings are hard to describe," Barkley told reporters, per NJ.com. "I really didn't get that nervous for this game. I have been preparing for this moment my whole life, I was just excited to get out there and show my team what I have. I only got a couple of carries, but I wanted to show that I'm willing to get the gritty yards, break big plays, and be productive in this offense."
Barkley also sounded like a veteran in praising his blockers on his eye-opening first NFL carry.
"The offensive line did a great job of creating space and creating a hole," Barkley said. "I was able to have patience and (tight end) Evan (Engram) did an unbelievable job of blocking on the backside, and I was able to burst through the hole, make a guy miss and get up field."