40-Yard Dash: 4.65 (27th-percentile)
Speed Score: 99.7 (58th-percentile)
Burst Score: 114.1 (24th-percentile)
Agility Score: 11.63 (15th-percentile)
Bench: 30 reps (99th-percentile)
Best Comparable: Jordan Howard
Samaje Perine is a prototypical power back who uses his 5-foot-10, 235-pound frame to smash his way through opposing defenses and into the secondary. He’s another three-year back who chose to leave school following his junior year, after posting solid numbers every season playing in the Big 12.
Samaje Perine hit the ground running as a true freshman at Oklahoma in 2014, racking up 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns on 276 carries. His biggest game of the season came on November 22nd against Kansas, where he posted a new NCAA record for single-game rushing yards, totaling 427 yards on the ground while amassing five rushing touchdowns. His record came exactly one week after Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon set the record against Nebraska.
Samaje Perine finished his freshman season No. 8 in the nation in rushing yards, and averaged 6.5 yards per carry. He followed up his 2014 campaign with another dominant 2015 season, posting 1,349 rush yards on 226 carries with 16 rushing touchdowns. He was forced to split the carries with fellow running back Joe Mixon in 2015, resulting in a slight drop in carries, but he was unquestionably the lead back for the Sooners, and deservedly so.
Never being known for his agility, Samaje Perine posted results at the NFL Scouting Combine that fit everything scouts thought they knew about him on tape. He ran a 4.65 40-yard dash, while posting a 114.1 Burst Score (24th-percentile among NFL running backs) and 11.63 Agility Score (15th-percentile among NFL running backs). Perine led all running backs in the bench press, putting up 30 reps of 225-pounds, further solidifying himself as a true power back with little wiggle.
In 2016, Samaje Perine missed three games due to a hamstring injury, and suffered a head injury against Oklahoma State in the final week of the regular season. The head injury wasn’t enough to keep him out of Oklahoma’s Sugar Bowl matchup against Auburn, where he racked up 86 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown. He closed out his junior season with 1,060 rush yards and 12 touchdowns, but still managed 5.4 yards per carry. He fell just shy of 200 carries on the season (196), but would have easily eclipsed that total had he stayed healthy.
While Samaje Perine does lack lateral quickness, his ability to burst through holes and run over defenders makes him an ideal complementary back for a team with an established dual-threat running back. He’s no stranger to heavy workloads, and should be able to handle the bulk of carries when called upon, and could flourish in an offense that allows him multiple opportunities. He has “touchdown vulture” written all over him, and has already proven to have a nose for the end zone. Put Perine behind an effective offensive line in 2017, and watch him flourish in short-yardage situations, and hopefully propel to more of an every-down role as he continues to develop.