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2017 NFL Draft: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

Perine holds the record for most yards in a single game, why isn’t he getting more recognition?

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Auburn vs Oklahoma Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

One of the expectations heading into the 2017 NFL Draft is that the New York Giants will select a running back at some point. Given the incredible depth of talented running backs in this class, it would almost have to be an effort of will for them to not draft a running back this year.

But within that position, the general assumption is that they will try to add a bigger “power back” to contrast and compliment the smaller, but incredibly shifty, Paul Perkins.

Last year the Giants fell in love with Sterling Shepard out of Oklahoma. And as it so happens, Oklahoma also features the running back to hold the NCAA record for yards in a single game (427 yards against Kansas), Samaje Perine.



  • Compact and powerful build.
  • Is difficult for a single defender to bring down. Runs through arm tackles and bounces off defenders who don’t wrap up.
  • Plays behind his pads and always drives forward for extra yardage. Looks to finish runs whenever possible.
  • Shows good vision as a runner to get the most out of his blocking.
  • Able to sink his hips and make cuts on the move when necessary.
  • Doesn’t have a reputation as a receiver, but has big hands and can catch the ball when thrown to him.


  • Lacks much of a burst and top-end speed.
  • Won’t be able to create much for himself or be a “home run” threat.
  • Isn’t explosive through his holes.
  • Can’t get out of trouble at or behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Willing blocker but needs to work on technique in pass protection.

Does He Fit With The Giants?

As a north-south runner with good vision, Perine would fit well in the Giants’ offense if they continue to use the inside zone as the basis for their run game. Perine’s hands, both in size and softness, should appeal to the Giants as well, given the increased role of the running backs as receivers in the Giants’ offense.

While he is capable of picking up chunks of yardage on the outside on toss plays, mostly by bouncing off or running over defensive backs, the speed of defenders in the NFL might make that a tougher proposition than in college.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 81st overall

CBS Sports - 129th overall

Draft Countdown - 123rd overall

Draft Tek - 99th overall

Final Thoughts

It speaks to the overall depth of the 2017 running back class that the reigning record holder for most yards in a single game is generally thought of as a third to fourth round pick. There isn’t anything inherently bad about Perine to have him that far down the board, but in this year, a running back needs to be potentially special to stand out.

Perine might not be explosive, or lightening quick, or a speed demon, and that’s why he is a mid-rounder this year.

But he is compact and powerful, should be able to handle a full load as a ball carrier, and he has good vision and enough movement skills to act on that vision. That will get him a job in the NFL, and his game is good enough in totality that he should be productive.