Paul Perkins may have averaged just eight carries a game in his rookie year but the New York Giants are confident they have a big part of their future backfield in the former UCLA running back.
The likely starter heading into this season, the Giants sure aren’t hiding their love affair with Perkins. A fifth-round pick in last year’s NFL draft, he did some positive things for a Giants backfield that, as a whole, didn’t do too much. He averaged 4.1 yards a carry, second on the team and significantly better than the team's average of 3.5 yards per carry.
He’s elusive, good in the open field and a reliable pass catcher. Perkins is also ready to take the next step according to the Giants.
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“What he’s shown is that in our system, you need three phases. You have to be able to run the ball. He was an effective runner last year. You have to be able to catch the ball. He did a good job in that and you have to be able to block people because they’re going to try you out,” said Giants running back coach Craig Johnson on Wednesday. “I thought that he probably improved the most in that situation. Guys were testing him out to get to the quarterback and he held up very good in protection. He is continuing to do that. If you could do that, it allows you to be a possible back on all three downs.”
He's also underrated as a pass blocker, as noted by Pro Football Focus:
Giants RB Paul Perkins allowed only one QB pressure on 31 pass blocking snaps last season. Likely headed for a bigger role in 2017. pic.twitter.com/EswBYkpVk0— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 10, 2017
It is, however, his ability in the open field that has management and fans hoping to see a bigger role for the second-year running back in 2017…and beyond.
“He really can cut sharp. He puts his foot in the ground and bursts through the hole. I like that,” Johnson said. “It helps both in the run and in the pass protection. That really helps his versatility.”