With all due respect to Kareem Hunt and Donnel Pumphrey, when Paul Perkins takes the field on December 26th, he will be the best running back prospect of bowl season so far. In fact, CBSsports currently has the UCLA star ranked as the No. 5 running back prospect for the 2016 NFL Draft. So what makes Perkins such an intriguing prospect? Let’s take a closer look.
On the heels of a 2014 campaign in which Perkins amassed 1,773 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns, he has followed that up in 2015 with 1,509 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns with one game still to go. What makes his 2015 special, in my opinion, is that he’s shouldered a relatively heavier burden as the team transitioned from veteran quarterback Brett Hundley 1 to true freshman Josh Rosen. Also, I love that he has scored a rushing touchdown in nine of his 12 games, which makes him one of the 15 most touchdown-prone backs in the country.
Furthermore, I admire Perkins’ receiving ability. In each of his three seasons he has surpassed 20 receptions and 200 receiving yards, indicating to me that he’s been a reliable pass catcher and been trusted by the coaching staff from an early age.
Towards the goal of arriving at a preliminary comparable group for Perkins, I rounded up running backs who match the following criteria:
- Final season age within +/- six months of Perkins
- Weight within +/- ten pounds of Perkins
- at least 65 career receptions
- at least 3,000 career rush yards
|Player||School||Draft Pick||Age||Wt||Car Rec||Car Ru Yds|
|Duke Johnson||Miami FL||77||21.3||207||69||3519|
|Joseph Randle||Oklahoma St||151||21.0||204||108||3085|
|Darius Walker||Notre Dame||UDFA||21.2||206||109||3249|
I’m pretty fascinated by this comparable group for several reasons. First, there are some home runs and there are some total whiffs, representative of a wide range of outcomes for Perkins. Also, I like that this group includes at least one player from rounds 1-5 of the NFL Draft, in addition to a UDFA (Walker), indicating that the kind of opportunity he will get is still in the balance. If there is one thing that Perkins lacks that some of these other guys had going for them is outstanding special teams production, of which Perkins has almost none.
Ultimately, I see Perkins as a top 100 running back prospect and someone who will likely be taken in the first two rounds of dynasty rookie drafts. For those reasons alone, it might behoove you to check him out in the Foster Farms Bowl against Nebraska. To whet your appetite, I’ve included a video below from DraftBreakdown; the action really gets going about a minute in.
- Fifth round draft pick of the Packers. (back)