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PFF scouting report: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

Name: Samaje Perine

School: Oklahoma

Position fit: Running back

Stats to know: His elusive rating in 2014 ranked in the top 10 RBs in the entire nation, but dropped to 29th and 87th in 2015 and 2016, respectively. His percentage of breakaway runs (15-plus yards) also peaked in 2014.

What he does best:

  • Powerful runner who can force defenders to slip off tackle attempts.
  • Shows very good balance through contact and keeps feet churning.
  • Uses his weapons well. Strong enough to keep and create more separation with stiff arms.
  • Change-of-direction skills sufficient to make cuts based on at first and second levels.
  • Can shoulder a full workload if needed.
  • Physical, attacks defenders in pass protection, though will need to work on blocking technique.

Biggest concerns:

  • Workload and productivity decreased over the last three seasons, partially due to Joe Mixon’s return. Also looked less explosive in 2016.
  • Can he make NFL defenders miss in the open field, instead of just running through them?
  • Vision is sometimes an issue if there aren’t clean reads.
  • May lack burst and speed to get the edge regularly in the NFL.
  • Good hands but average receiving threat. Wasn’t utilized as a receiver very much despite playing for a team that passed fairly often.

Player comparison: Michael Turner

Bottom line: At a listed 235 pounds, Perine is a big, powerful running back who runs behind his pads. His balance through contact stands out and allows him to slip through tackles. He is active with his free arm to keep and create separation between himself and defenders. He’s more of a downhill runner but possesses change-of-direction skills to make the necessary cuts at the line of scrimmage and second level. Perine has good but not great speed. He will need to prove he can make defenders miss in the open field instead of just running through them. He was highly productive as a freshman in 2014, and saw a decrease in both workload and production each of the next two years. Some of that was due to splitting time with Joe Mixon, who was suspended in 2014, and an injury that caused him to miss a few games in 2016. However, he also averaged fewer yards per carry, yards after contact per carry, and his forced missed tackles less frequently. Perine is capable of handling a full workload, but he is probably best suited in a role as a power back paired with a more dynamic player to handle part of the workload and passing situations.

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