Samaje Perine burst onto the college football scene as a freshman in 2014 when he racked up 427 yards and five touchdowns against Kansas to set the NCAA single-game rushing record as a true freshman. Even before that, Oklahoma fans knew they had something special in Perine and that he most likely wouldn’t be around past his junior season. Named Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year in 2014, Perine would also be tabbed with All-Conference status all three years at OU.
A powerful runner, Perine has strength, speed, and hands to be a multi-threat back. He’s able to fit through small spaces between tackles to get to the second level of the defense where he can overpower linebackers and defensive backs. His lower body strength allows him to drive through initial contact and avoid arm tackles. Possesses good field vision and finishes runs strong.
He’s not a nimble runner and has limited lateral movement. He has good pad level but that leads to contact and not away from it so he has more wear and tear on his body and a typical three-year college player. He lacks a quick burst of speed which means he requires space to reach his maximum. Past ankle injuries could also be a concern.
Carolina Panthers (3rd Round) | The Panthers need a right tackle and some help along the defensive line but will also need to pick up a young running back in this draft as well. Perine would fit in nicely in Carolina, where he could slide into a committee of backs, and wouldn’t have immediate pressure to perform.