Redskins select RB Samaje Perine in 4th round

With their first pick in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected RB Samaje Perine from the University of Oklahoma.

After addressing defense with their first three picks in this draft, the Skins moved to the offensive side of the ball, taking a runner who broke an NCAA record by rushing for 427 yards in a win over Kansas as a true freshman. He ran for over 1700 yards and 21 touchdowns that year, but his production slid after that until he was sharing the backfield carries with RB Joe Mixon.

Perine won’t blow anyone away with his speed, but his size (5’11” and 233 pounds) deserves respect. He’s a physical runner who seeks and enjoys contact and finishes his runs. He falls forward rather than allowing defenders to push him back. He’s a powerful inside runner who bench pressed 224 pounds 30 times, best among all running backs at the Combine.

Perine has a nose for the end zone, scoring 49 times in three years, something Washington desperately needs in light of their constant red zone troubles in 2016.

Perine is a solid character, unlike Mixon, and will not get into trouble off the field or create waves in the locker room. Expect Perine to be part of a backfield committee with Robert Kelly, Chris Thompson and, perhaps, Matt Jones.

Now, I’ll turn it over to Lance Zierlein of NFL.com…

STRENGTHS

Has build and toughness to handle a heavy workload if called on. Gets a deep press off line of scrimmage before making his cut. Able to fit into the crevices between the tackles and come out the other side. Very powerful through his hips and thighs. Creates for himself with power. Arm tacklers won’t like the results. Drives through initial contact and continues to churn out additional yardage. Pad level is always where it is supposed to be. Delivers a message when he finishes runs. Short yardage winner and doesn’t have much wasted motion as a runner. Decisive in his downhill charge but does so with quality vision. Not a typical third down option, but has the soft hands out of backfield to be a solid screen and check-down option.

WEAKNESSES

All bully with very little ballerina as a runner. Lacks loose hips to make sudden lateral escapes or take advantage of a late opening. Doesn’t have the big burst to jet from first to third level. Low-knee action keeps his lower body covered with hands and tackle attempts. Has prolonged gear-down to make open field cuts. Needs a clear path early in the rep. Missing restart quickness when slowed by initial defender. Play speed is very average. Could have troubles getting to the edge against NFL speed. Has had ankle injuries in past that could require additional scrutiny at the combine. All bully with very little ballerina as a runner. Lacks loose hips to make sudden lateral escapes or take advantage of a late opening. Doesn’t have the big burst to jet from first to third level. Low-knee action keeps his lower body covered with hands and tackle attempts. Has prolonged gear-down to make open field cuts. Needs a clear path early in the rep. Missing restart quickness when slowed by initial defender. Play speed is very average. Could have troubles getting to the edge against NFL speed. Has had ankle injuries in past that could require additional scrutiny at the combine.

DRAFT PROJECTION

Round 3

SOURCES TELL US

“I love Perine. Great kid, hard worker, reliable. He’s a team-first player who will fit into a committee approach or can handle all the work. He will be a solid pro back.” – AFC National scout

NFL COMPARISON

Michael Turner

BOTTOM LINE

Perine is a physical runner who can create additional yardage through power and can be a complimentary “banger” for a team who already has a slasher. Perine doesn’t have the burst or play speed to be a dynamic lead back, but he can handle a heavy workload if needed and he should become an immediate short-yardage and goal-line option.

-Lance Zierlein