Paul Perkins RB UCLA
Coming out of High School in 2012, Perkins was a 3 star recruit out of Arizona and was listed at 5’10” 180 pounds. The 2012 class has some talent as I talked about in my Jonathan Williams article. Perkins isn’t likely to be a twenty carry a game type back. I doubt his body could handle that workload but he could be a good tandem back if he lands on the right team.
Perkins put up decent numbers his two years as a starter in 2015 and 2014. In 2014 he had 1575 yards on 251 attempts for a 6.3 yard per carry while in 2015 he put up 1343 yards on 237 carries for a 5.7ypc. In 2014 he had 9 touchdowns and in 2015 he had 14. His first year getting playing time in 2013 Perkins posted 573 yards on 134 carries. I will talk about Perkins lack of breakaway speed, but in 2014 he had a long run of 92 yards and in 2015 he had one of 82 yards. He also showed skills in the receiving game each year posting around 25 caught balls and about 250 yards through the air.
Combine info – Perkins measured in at 5103 or about 5’10” weighing in at 208lbs. So he packed on about 30 pounds of mass during his time at UCLA. That shows work ethic and dedication. It’s also not easy to put on that size and maintain speed and agility. Arm length measured in at 31 5/8” and he had 9” hands. He ran a 4.54 40 yard dash with a 1.62 10 yard. It was odd that he did not perform in the short shuttle or the 3 cone. His agility should be one of his strengths on tape but maybe wasn’t testing well. Perkins had a 32 inch vertical and a 124 inch broad jump. So he shows some explosion in the broad jump that didn’t translate into the vertical. Perkins did 19 reps on the bench press.
Things to like – Perkins shows some really good hands as a receiver. He is not a body catcher and does a nice job focusing in on the ball. Shows ability to catch balls thrown behind him and those that are placed high/low. In the bowl game against Nebraska you see his ability to really watch the ball in during a screen where he ends up getting blown up as he receives the ball. Never takes his eyes off. He will do well in swings and screen passes at the NFL level. His lower body strength and agility allows him to get through the trash at the line and his initial burst gets him past that first level of defense. He shows great lateral quickness when he needs to break a run outside or when cutting back to find a running lane. His Stanford run shows all of this as at the initial point of attack a Stanford LB is there to meet him. Perkins quickly sidesteps him goes over another defender at the line, cuts back and bounces it out and up the field. His plus Vision, balance and agility all flash on that play. Shows a good stutter step and change of direction with quick footwork. He does a very nice job setting up defenders in the open field and juking them.
Cons – Needs to play behind his pads in pass pro. He shows a willingness to take on defenders but gets knocked down when doing so, though he still slows the pass rush. Needs to learn to chop defenders low as blocker at his size. I didn’t notice any fumbles but he gets an arm swing that puts the ball away from his body at times. He lacks breakaway speed. Perkins game tape looks a lot slower than the 4.54 forty that he put on display at the NFL combine. He is a lot quicker than he is fast. It’s not a bad thing but it’s going to limit his ability to create at the next level. This also affects his ability to create separation in pass routes.
Perkins is going to be best suited to go to teams with Gap and Zone run schemes. He is a patient runner who lets blocks forms and has great vision to find primary or cut back lanes. His lateral agility and initial burst allows him to make the first defender miss though a lack of a second gear to breakaway in the open field limits big play potential. This also limits his ability to separate from defenders when running routes. Look for Perkins likely to be a day 3 pick. I doubt he becomes an every down back but in the Running Back By Committee world of the NFL he has a place as a good running back option.