Paul Perkins Makes List Of Top 32 ‘Under The Radar’ NFL Rookies To Watch
By Neal Lynch
Nick Klopsis of Newsday wrote an article about the 32 ‘under-the-radar’ NFL rookies to watch in 2016, which highlighted “one rookie from each team taken in the third round or later who have a good chance to contribute from the get-go”. New York Giants 5th round draft pick Paul Perkins made the list, but what makes Paul a better choice than third rounder Darian Thompson, fourth rounder B.J. Goodson, or sixth rounder Jerell Adams?
Here’s what Klopsis had to say about Perk:
"“The Giants’ committee approach in the backfield last season was a big reason why they finished eighth-worst in rushing yards and sixth-worst in rushing touchdowns last season. Only when they handed the reins to Rashad Jennings in the final month of the season did a Giants back finally have a 100-yard game. So by drafting UCLA’s Paul Perkins in the fifth round, the Giants could be in position to eliminate the committee approach. Perkins is a slippery running back who regularly makes highlight-reel cuts and fights for extra yards, and while he doesn’t have the size of a three-down back, his elusiveness and vision may be enough to earn him a prominent role in the Giants’ backfield.”"
Each of the Giants draft picks – with the possible exception of Eli Apple – have been getting some high praise. Second rounder Sterling Shepard appears poised to push Victor Cruz for the #2 wide receiver spot on the depth chart and could become Eli Manning’s security blanket, much like Steve Smith was from 2007-2010.
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Third rounder Darian Thompson has been acknowledged for his work ethic and seems to be the favorite to win the free safety position, which definitely has something to prove this season. Billy Nayden of Today’s Pigskin thinks Landon Collins will benefit from having Thompson by his side. Benjy Kling of With The First Pick predicts Thompson will make the 2016 All-Rookie Defense team.
Fourth rounder B.J. Goodson has Parks stating that the Clemson Tigers linebacker will be a mainstay in the middle for the Giants. Goodson’s selection has Big Blue View asking if last season’s starter Jasper Brinkley can hold off the competition with Ralph Vacchiano reiterating that Brinkley’s not guaranteed the starting nod.
Then there’s sixth rounder Jerell Adams. Jordan Raanan believes last season’s breakthrough Will Tye will start. According to multiple scouts, it appears the only major obstacle holding Adams back from snatching away snaps from the rest of the field is his “mental aptitude”. With Larry Donnell returning from a serious neck injury, the Giants now have the ability to go with multi-tight end sets to get a favorable matchup. Ed Valentine of BBV suggested that Adams could be another Martellus Bennett.
With the First Pick
James Parks of 247Sports believes the Giants see the future in Perkins, adding that Paul can be an early standout player, despite not immediately having a clear role with the team. And while James Kratch of NJ.com echoed that sentiment of ambiguity, Giants fans can find comfort knowing incumbent starter Rashad Jennings is “excited to groom” Perkins into a great running back.
Dan Schneier of Today’s Pigskin noted that Perkins wins in a variety of ways: elusiveness, making something out of nothing, in short yardage, blocking, finding the cutback lane, deep speed, and his ability to learn pro style offense.
It’s almost unfathomable that Perkins can be a contributor on an offense that now has so many: Odell Beckham, Jr., Victor Cruz, Shepard, Shane Vereen, Rashad Jennings, Tye, Donnell, Adams. If anything, I’m very eager to see how many different looks he throws at opposing defenses. Every down will have at least one mismatch to exploit.
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As for which rookie I think will be “the one to watch”? Do I have to pick one? So far, it looks like each one could make an impact. Who will make the most waves? Somehow, I don’t see it being Perkins just yet, but the more I hear and read about him, the more I’d like to see him getting touches. Right now, it’s between Shepard and Thompson with Eli Apple on the fringe.