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Could the Stars Align For Samaje Perine in 2018?

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NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I for one was very excited when the Redskins drafted Oklahoma’s all-time leading rusher Samaje Perine with the seventh pick in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Redskins desperately needed a running back, and the 5’11” 233 pound battering ram fit the bill.

Perine didn’t exactly light the world on fire during his rookie season, but some of that can be attributed to the massive injuries the Redskins suffered along the offensive line. Perine however did show some promise even after the injuries began to mount, putting together back-to-back 100 yard efforts against the Giants and Saints after Rob Kelley was placed on injured reserve. In those games, he averaged 4.2 and 5.1 yards per carry respectively, and found the endzone once (against the Saints).

During the Saints game, starting center Spencer Long was lost for the season with a quad injury that needed surgery. The following week starting left guard Sean Lauvao was placed on IR with a season-ending injury. Subsequently, Perine’s numbers began to decline as rookie center Chase Roullier and veteran Arie Kouandjio were inserted at center and left guard. On December 17th, Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams was finally shut down for the season. The seasons final game against the Giants saw Perine carry just two times for three yards.

On the season, Perine had 175 rushing attempts for 603 yards and one touchdown. He averaged a paltry 3.4 yards per carry. He also added 22 receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown.

So, why should Redskins fans hold out hope for a big second year?

For starters, Perine is a mountain of a man. He is very well put together, and has the body that can take 20-25 carries per game week in and week out. He has outstanding strength as evident by his 30 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press at the 2017 combine. Despite these traits, Perine is deceptively quick and has surprising lateral movement. He has the patience to press a hole, and explode through it for a big gain. Once he sees open field, he has the speed to rip off large chunks of yardage (he was timed under 4.6 at Oklahoma’s Pro Day).

During his time at Oklahoma, Perine only had 40 total receptions, but as a rookie in Washington, he was targeted 24 times, hauling in all but two of those. He is also a willing blocker, although he’s still working on blitz pickup adjustments (something a rookie running back often struggles with). These traits show he has the ability to be a complete three-down NFL back.

With a healthy offensive line can Perine become the true rushing threat the Redskins have been lacking for years here in D.C.? Discuss your thoughts in the comments section.

Poll

Can Samaje Perine become the Redskins feature back in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Yes
    (845 votes)
  • 7%
    No
    (116 votes)
  • 38%
    He’s a solid reserve. We still need a true bell-cow.
    (605 votes)
1566 votes total Vote Now