The Redskins spent the 7th pick in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft on Oklahoma record-breaking running back Samaje Perine. The 5'11" 233 pound battering-ram is the most accomplished college running back the team has drafted in decades. During his time at Oklahoma (3 years - he entered the draft as a Junior), Perine rushed for a school record 4122 yards and 49 touchdowns (21 of those coming as a true freshmen). He chipped in 40 receptions for 321 yards and two touchdowns.
So, can his amazing college production translate into NFL success?
Perine has the body to be an NFL workhorse back. Although he put up astonishing collegiate numbers, he doesn't have the wear-and-tear of many college backs entering the league. Over his three years in Norman, he tallied 685 total carries, but saw those numbers dip in 2016 as he shared carries with second round draft pick Joe Mixon. He absolutely made the most out of his collegiate carries, averaging 6.0 YPC over his career.
Aside from the mind-boggling stats, Perine also brings a sense of leadership, maturity and humbleness to the Redskins. He is a true sportsman who respects the game of football, and has a work-ethic that will please even the most demanding coach. He will do whatever is asked of him to better the football team.
Currently, the Redskins have running backs Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Matt Jones as returning contributors. Kelley finished the season as the team's starter, and he is the favorite to retain that status heading into training camp this summer. Although Kelley is far from a dynamic bell-cow back, he runs with authority, sees the hole well, and doesn't fumble. Thompson is a great third-down back who is an instrumental piece in Jay Gruden's offense, so don't expect his status to change. Matt Jones, who was benched last season for ball security issues, will be on the outside looking in when camp starts this summer, and he'll need to get out of the dog house and prove to coaches he can secure the football if he wants to get carries this season.
Behind these three are youngsters Mack Brown and Keith Marshall who have had limited chances in this offense.
I believe Perine is the most talented running back on the Redskins roster, and the most talented, accomplished back we have had here in years. His power is unquestioned, his balance is amazing, his speed is deceptive and his receiving skills are underrated. He has everything you look for in a bell-cow NFL stud.
Will Perine be able to step in this summer and capture the starting running back spot in Jay Gruden's potent offense?