Dynasty Prospect Profile: Paul Perkins
Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
(percentile rank among all WRs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.54 (55th)
Vertical: 32" (16th)
Broad: 10'4 (85th)
20-yard shuttle: DNP
A mere 3-star recruit out of high school (according to Scout.com), Perkins redshirted as a freshman before serving as the top RB in a 2013 backfield that leaned on QB Brett Hundley as the leading rusher.
Perkins broke out as a sophomore, however, becoming the 1st Bruin to lead the conference in rushing since DeShaun Foster back in 2001. Perkins racked up 6 games of 100+ yards, including 3 outings of 180+. His 26 receptions ranked 5th on the team, falling just 3 short of the 3rd spot.
Despite carrying 13 fewer times as a junior, Perkins actually garnered a career-high 53.1% of the team rushing attempts last season while playing through an October knee injury. He tallied another 5 games of 100+ yards and finished 6 total games at 6.0 yards per carry or better. Perkins also scored in 10 of 13 contests.
Beyond the traditional stats, Pro Football Focus pegged Perkins as the nation's leader in elusive rating, as he forced 85 missed tackles.
Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com
Games watched: Arizona, Nebraska, USC, Stanford, Cal
If you've watched Perkins play, then his PFF elusiveness grade probably didn't surprise you. This guy's not big and he's not terrifically fast, but he's got moves.
If you watched the NFL Scouting Combine's RB workouts, then you saw that clip plenty -- and for good reason. It shows off Perkins' vision, his cutting ability and his short-area quicks. And it's certainly not the only example of his slippery ways.
Perkins rarely lets the 1st tackler take him down, especially when he meets that guy out in space or beyond the line of scrimmage. Here's a play against USC where Perkins bounces off the 1st (poor) tackle attempt and seems to instantly realize that if he sees so many red jerseys in the area, there must be running room back the other way. He's right ...
Another example from that same game displays more of the surprising tackle-breaking ability for a guy who weighs less than 210 pounds -- as well as Perkins' patience while the defense strings the play all the way to the edge.
And while we're at that USC game, let's throw in some impressive balance ...
Although Perkins bounces off tacklers fairly often and runs stubbornly, he doesn't bring the kind of power that will run through as many NFL tackle attempts. He showed well enough near the goal line in college but might have more trouble in that area as a pro. Of course, whether he gets those chances might depend more on his situation than his performance.
Perkins does, at least, look good in the passing game. He's a comfy receiver -- albeit on limited opportunities in the games I watched -- and a willing pass-blocker. The fact that he can perform in all situations and areas of the field should help him work into the rotation earlier in his career.
If only he carried 15-20 more pounds, we might be talking about an NFL starter.
An NFC GM called Perkins "a poor man's Jamaal Charles." Indeed, if you check Charles' Mockdraftable page, you'll find Perkins 3rd on the "similar players" list. Unfortunately, the key difference is that Charles ran a 4.38-second 40 to Perkins' 4.52.
The ex-Bruin delivers some impressive college tape, and he certainly has the skills to help a pro team. But he'd probably need to be bigger or faster to nail down a feature-back role in today's NFL. That said, the decline of the workhorse means that it's easier to generate fantasy value without racking up 300 carries.
In the right situation, Perkins could certainly turn into a useful piece. He's capable in the passing game, shifty and unafraid between the tackles. He ranks among the better pure runners in this class, so we'll be quite curious to see where he lands.