NFL Draft 2017 Scouting Report: RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma
*Our RB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.
*We use the term “Power RB” to separate physically bigger, more between-the-tackles-capable RBs from our “Speed RBs” group. “Speed RBs” are physically smaller but much faster/quicker, and less likely to flourish between the tackles.
In a sense, Samaje Perine is the anti-Joe Mixon (his former teammate/stablemate at O.U.).
— Mixon is notorious for his off-field assault issue/suspension from Oklahoma. Perine was a team captain and an All-Academic team member.
— Mixon sounds like, looks like, and has the comfort level of an unconfident teenager in an interview. Perine is humble, thoughtful, and confident with others.
— Mixon has great speed for his size and is adept at finding holes and shooting through them. Perine is five pounds bigger, but two inches smaller…built more like a tank. He uses power and stiff-arms to gain extra yardage.
— Mixon has good hands in the passing game, Perine is average to below average as a pass-catcher.
— Mixon isn’t real big on blocking. Perine is as good a blocker as you’ll find at RB in this draft or in others (for a guy that can run the ball well).
Both players have gifts they bring to the NFL. They are legit NFL starting RB talents. Given all the nonfootball stuff, I think teams should rather desire Perine over Mixon.
When I watch Perine on tape, I swear I see Jordan Howard all over again. They run/move the same way – power runners who read their blocks and find space to roll…and then they roll. When a defender tackles them…the defender is worse for the wear. Howard and Perine aren’t analytics guys you find by running a typical athleticism formula. They have a gift that’s hard to extrapolate out of something like the antiquated/limited SPARQ or whatever formula draftniks are in love with these days. Some guys have ‘it’, and Perine has it. He was more successful at Oklahoma than Mixon was…he wasn’t as ‘sexy’ or turbulent as Mixon – Perine was just better.
Perine will face the same issues in the NFL as he did in college, and as Jordan Howard did transitioning. They are not ‘sexy’ runners, so coaches overlook them…pigeonhole them as short yardage specialists. John Fox tried his hardest to push Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey, also the two RBs who the analysts and media loved. Howard finally got the chance and eventually couldn’t be denied. Had Howard been given the Ezekiel Elliott red carpet from day one…Howard would be the Rookie of the Year producer from 2016. Perine is in for the same bias/uphill battle.
What people will hesitate at with Perine, and probably his new coaches too…he isn’t as dynamic catching passes. What WILL get coaches’ attention, and should get him pushed into lineups right away, is his blocking. You always see beloved, speedster RB names hit the NFL with a lot of fan/media love – and immediately get parked because they can’t block…and they can disappear for years. Perine comes out of the package ‘ready to go’ as a blocker.
As stated in my Joe Mixon scouting report (about Mixon) – Perine is not a transformative RB prospect, just a really good one. A solid ‘B’, maybe ‘B+’ prospect for the NFL. He’s going to do fine. He’s not David Johnson or Le’Veon Bell, but he’s very good/solid. You want Perine in your backfield and in your locker room…and he’s going to come at a bargain price.
Samaje Perine, through the lens of our “Power RB” Scouting Algorithm
Oklahoma’s all-time rushing leader…surpassing Billy Sims.
1,713 rushing yards and 21 TDs as a freshman.
Rushed for an NCAA record 427 yards against Kansas in 2014 (as a freshman). Also, rushed for 5 TDs in that game.
Three bowl games (two against Clemson) in his career, averaging 92.7 rushing yards 107.7 totally yards per game.
50 TDs scored over his final 33 games in college.
NFL Combine data…
5′10’5″/233, 10.0″ hands, 30.4″ arms
4.65 40-time, 4.37 shuttle, 7.26 three-cone
30 bench press reps, 33.0″ vertical, 9′8″ broad jump
Perine’s college stats on CFB Reference: http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/samaje-perine-1.html
The NFL “Power RB” that Samaje Perine most compares with statistically in college, within our system:
I keep saying “He’s like Jordan Howard.” I mean, he’s really like Jordan Howard. Perine is a physically tougher version of Howard. I’m not sure any RB I’ve ever seen has the vision at the line of scrimmage that Howard does…and Perine is good, but not like Howard reading holes/blocking. If Perine is close in vision/instincts running the ball – he’s a more athletic and stronger version of Howard.
*A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of RBs going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL RB.
All of the RB ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.
Overall rating/score = A combination of several on-field performance measures, including refinement for the strength of opponents faced, mixed with all the physical measurement metrics—then compared/rated historically within our database and formulas. More of a traditional three-down search—runner, blocker, and receiver.
*RB-Re score = New/testing in 2017. Our new formula/rating that attempts to identify and quantify a prospect’s receiving skills even deeper than in our original formulas. RB prospects can now make it/thrive in the NFL strictly based on their receiving skills—it is an individual attribute sought out for the NFL and no longer dismissed or overlooked. Our rating combines a study of their receiving numbers in college in relation to their offense and opponents, as well as profiling size-speed-agility along with hand-size measurables, etc.
*RB-Ru score = New/testing in 2017. Our new formula/rating that attempts to classify and quantify an RB prospect’s ability strictly as a runner of the ball. Our rating combines a study of their rushing numbers in college in relation to their offense and strength of opponents, as well as profiling size-speed-agility along with various size measurables, etc.
Raw Speed Metric = A combination of several speed and size measurements from the NFL Combine, judged along with physical size profile, and then compared/rated historically within our database and scouting formulas. This is a rating strictly for RBs of a similar/bigger size profile.
Agility Metric = A combination of several speed and agility measurements from the NFL Combine, judged along with physical size profile, and then compared/rated historically within our database and scouting formulas. This is a rating strictly for RBs of a similar/bigger size profile.
2017 NFL Draft outlook…
Most projections for Perine are fourth or fifth round. Jordan Howard went fifth round, and there was more enthusiasm for Howard…so Perine as a fifth-rounder is likely.
NFL Outlook: It’s all about getting a chance with Perine. As a fifth+ round pick he’s not being brought in to take over day one. John Fox fought Jordan Howard for weeks into the 2016 season…even after Howard started to pop, there was a Ka’Deem Carey re-push that failed. Perine’s NFL career depends upon what team and when the starter in front of him fails/gets hurt in order to get his chance.
– R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics.com and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics.com. Read more of his work on FantasyPros and various football websites. His group also provides player projections for fantasy software such as Advanced Sports Logic’s The Machine.