NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
As the NFL Combine inches closer, I want to get myself acclimated with as many of the skill position players as I can. I want to see what the tape tells me on these players before some player at the underwear Olympics puts up some eye popping 40 time and everyone falls in love. I like analytics, in fact, I have tried for years to come up with the perfect formula combining a players measureables and testing to see if I could find what makes a player great or not. I have not found that formula. There are some great writers in #drafttwitter that do a great job with analytics and I try to read as much as I can, but I find myself always going back to the tape. I have been focused on Running Back for the past few days and thought I would share my thoughts on UCLA’s Paul Perkins.
Name: Paul Perkins (#24)
School: UCLA (Jr.)
Height: 5’10” (unofficial)
Weight: 210 Lbs. (unofficial)
The first thing that pops off the tape when watching Perkins is his shiftiness. He is so elusive in his movements that it looks like he is in a video game. I found myself laughing out loud when watching him because he can make defenders look absolutely silly when trying to tackle him. Along with that shiftiness comes balance. He does a great job at staying balanced even when he is making complex moves to make defenders miss. Perkins shows good patience and vision to allow his lanes to open up and then shows a good burst to hit that hole quickly. He plays with a good low pad level and can get skinny to get through the smallest of holes. He looks natural as a pass catcher and is a nightmare for defenders in the open field.
Perkins played in a spread type offense and he will have to adjust to life in a more traditional NFL offense. He lacks the power you look for in a traditional between the Tackles type of runner. Perkins can fall into the trap of running East/West too much rather than just pounding it inside and taking what is there. He likes to bounce it outside far too often which will not work in the NFL. Perkins lacks elite speed and does not have that 2nd gear to run away from defenders. He is passive as a blocker and gets pushed around far too much to be trusted in that role right now. He needs time in an NFL strength program.
Perkins’s tape is full of “wow” plays. He could make a defender miss even in the smallest of spaces. He doesn’t play with great power, but he isn’t brought down by ankle tackles either. I love his balance and his ability to make defenders miss in a variety of ways. He is good at getting low and doesn’t take a lot of big hits which will serve him well at the next level. He could have good success if put into the right type of scheme and situation. I don’t see an explosive player on tape and I don’t think he will run an impressive 40 at the Combine, although he should excel in the agility drills. I don’t see him as a great fit in New England in a lead back role. Because of that and the other things I just mentioned, I can’t give Perkins any higher than a day 3 grade.
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