Washington Redskins rookie running back Samaje Perine may be your next household name.
The Washington Redskins open the 2017 preseason tonight as they head out on the road to take on the Baltimore Ravens. As usual, you won’t see much of the Redskins’ starters. But there will be a few new faces looking to make a name for themselves.
One of those new faces to keep your eye on is running back Samaje Perine. The former Oklahoma Sooner standout has shown a lot of skill and speed in practice. He expects to challenge current starter Robert Kelley for the job. Perine certainly appears to have rookie of the year potential. Last season, Kelley rushed for a total of 704 yards with the Redskins, averaging just 4.2 yards per attempt, with six touchdowns. Adding Perine could be the boost Washington needs to expand their ground game.
Perine was a force to be reckoned with in college, racking up 1,349 yards and 16 touchdowns in his sophomore year. The arrival of Joe Mixon meant less playing time for Perine in his final year, but he still had excellent numbers, rushing for 1,060 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior with the Sooners.
He looks to translate those stats straight into the NFL, with speed and toughness that is turning heads in the Redskins orginization. He is a powerful, tough runner, and arm tackles aren’t going to bring him down easily. Washington head coach Jay Gruden has said “he really doesn’t have any weaknesses in his game.”
Of course, that’s not entirely true. Perine’s bullying style of running does have its shortcomings. He has more brute power than finesse. Making quick, lateral movements or quick bursts will be things he has trouble with. It could also present an issue getting to the edge against faster NFL players.
However, his work ethic could prove to be a difference maker. Coach Jay Gruden, talking about Perine, told Lake Lewis Jr. of Redskins Wire that “he comes in, he’s no nonsense, works hard, prepares well, and is a very bright kid.” If Perine can translate that work ethic into improvement, the Redskins could very well have one of the best young running backs in the game at their disposal.
There is a long way to go, and a lot of work to do for Perine, but don’t sleep on his potential. We could likely see him become an essential part of the Washington Redskins running game sooner than later.
Austin Eldridge is a Washington Redskins writer for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on twitter at @RadioAustin56. Looking for more Redskins news and features? Like our facebook page HERE and also follow @spot_redskins on Twitter.