The Giants selected UCLA running back Paul Perkins in the fifth round of the draft, but had to deal with Perkins not being available for OTAs until he graduated. The good thing for the Giants is now Perkins is in minicamp.
“He’s working really hard, but still has a way to go,” said running backs coach Craig Johnson. “There was a lot of information he missed, but right now, he’s a really sharp kid and asks a lot of good questions. He comes early and stays late, and I think he’s working really hard to get himself acclimated to what he needs to do.”
As a Bruin, Perkins led the Pac-12 in rushing in 2014, and followed it up with a 2015 performance that had him voted second-team All-Pac-12. Now, Perkins gets to compete against NFL competition for the first time. “We’ve got to get him some reps, get him tackled a little bit,” said head coach Ben McAdoo. “See ball security, but like I said before, it’s tough to evaluate runners in a camp situation. You have to get them in games, get them some carries. See if they can deliver blows, and absorb some blows as well.”
Last season, Perkins rushed for 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Bruins. The running back also caught 30 passes. There have been displays of both rushing and receiving in minicamp.
“I’ve seen flashes, which is always a good thing you want to see out of a young player like him,” Johnson said. “He’s made a couple of nice catches, he’s had a couple of good bursts at the line of scrimmage.”
Getting adjusted to a quicker game and a thicker playbook will take adjusting to, but Perkins is coming along fine.
“Like a lot of rookies, he’s unsure, he’s a little hesitant,” Johnson said. “But that’s what happens when you have all the things that are going on with a rookie at his position. The one thing about him is that as a young player, sometimes they feel their way, but he did it early and he’s doing it less and less, which tells me he’s able to play faster and more aggressively.”
If the rookie has any questions, he can go to his uncle Don Perkins, a six-time pro bowl running back with the Cowboys. Paul’s father also played in the NFL as a fullback.
There are plenty of running backs on the roster and one of them, Shane Vereen, is aware that Perkins is making strides.
“He is a smart guy and a smart player so he is catching on very quickly, and I have seen his progression go pretty steadily and he’s learning a lot,” Vereen said.