Paul Perkins: 2016 Cowboys RB Prospect

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Paul Perkins rushed for 1,343 yards and 14 TDs on 237 carries for an average of 5.6 yards per carry in 2015. He added 30 receptions for 242 yards and another score earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors.

UCLA running back Paul Perkins (24) runs for yardage against Southern California during the first half of an NCAA college football game in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)
(Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

He led the Pac-12 in rushing in 2014 with 1,575 yards on 251 carries which was the second-highest total in a season ever by a UCLA back.

Dallas will bring back the veteran Darren McFadden, but must upgrade their depth at running back for the 2016 season after releasing Joseph Randle mid-season and failing to add a back in the 2015 NFL Draft. Lance Dunbar is coming off of a torn ACL and like Robert Turbin, both enter the off-season as an unrestricted free agent. This scouting report profiles Paul Perkins as a potential replacement.


Paul Perkins, RB

Height | Weight: 5-11 210

College: UCLA

Age: 21

Round: 4

Official UCLA Bruins Team Bio: 2014 – Became the first Bruin to lead the Pac-12 in rushing since DeShaun Foster in 2001 … His total of 1,575 yards rushing was the second-highest total in a season ever by a UCLA back … Ranked 15th in the NCAA in rushing yards (1,575), 16th in rushing yards per game (121.2) and 29th in the nation in all-purpose rushing (136.6) … Had six 100-yard rushing games, topped by a 194-yard performance in the bowl win over Kansas State … Had his first 100-yard game vs. Texas (24-126) and added five catches (69 yds) … Ran for 190 yards on 22 carries against Oregon … Went for 180 yards at Colorado, including a 92-yard scoring run which tied for the second-longest in school history … Recorded his first two scoring receptions in the win at Cal … Honorable mention all-conference selection by the coaches … Presented the Captain Don Brown Award for Most Improved Player at the team’s annual banquet.

2013 – Saw action in 13 games and made four starts … Ran for scores in games vs. Nevada, Nebraska, Cal, Arizona State, USC and Virginia Tech … Totaled at least 50 yards rushing in six games … Ran for 93 yards on 22 carries at Oregon … Had 92 yards on 16 rushes at Utah … Caught three balls for 76 yards at USC … Made three catches for 36 yards vs. New Mexico State … Honorable mention Academic All-Conference … Presented the Captain Don Brown Award for Most Improved Player on offense at the team banquet.

2012 – Did not see game action in his first year in the program and has three seasons of eligibility remaining after working on the scout team in practice.

HIGH SCHOOL – Earned three varsity letters as a running back and safety at Chandler HS for coach Shaun Aguano … A three-star recruit according to and the No. 85 cornerback prospect in the nation … Three-star recruit according to and the No. 40 prospect at the athlete position in the nation … ESPN two-star recruit and the No. 25 prospect in Arizona … SuperPrep’s No. 11 recruit in the state of Arizona … Named first-team all-state in his senior season after rushing for 1,297 yards and 20 touchdowns … Also caught 11 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown … Made 22 tackles … As a junior, had 44 carries for 270 yards and two touchdowns … Made 11 catches for 100 yards … Recorded 31 tackles and made one interception … Awarded four letters on the track team (coach Eric Richardson) … 2011 MVP of the track team … Placed second in the state 300m hurdle event as a senior … Set a school record in the 300m hurdles (37.35) … His school captured the state championship in track in 2010 and 2012.

PERSONAL – Full Name: Paul Kerry Perkins II … Born in Mesa, AZ… Parents: Paul and Ore Perkins … Dad (a.k.a. Bruce) played football at Arizona State and in the NFL with Tampa Bay (1990) and Indianapolis (1991) as a fullback … His uncle, Don Perkins played eight seasons as a running back for the Cowboys … Has a younger brother, Bryce … Lists his biggest thrills in sports as rushing for 266 yards against the State championship team and winning the state meet in track … Lists his dad as the athlete he admires the most … Hobbies include working out, cooking and playing video games … Earned a spot on the Athletic Director’s Academic Honor Roll in Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Fall 2013 quarters.


Film Study:

  • Paul Perkins has Impressive elusiveness to beat defenders in space. Breaks a lot of tackles and will not be brought down by just one defender in the open field. Comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield. Runs low to the ground; impressive balance. Fluid runner without wasted motion and has a low center of gravity. Runs with good vision and capable of finding the cutback lane. A physical inside runner who will break tackles and will keep moving forward upon contact. Has a nose for the end zone and will put his head down and power through in short yardage situations. Runs with good patience setting up blocks and capable of getting outside of a defense but better inside.


  • Ran out of a shotgun or the pistol formation and did not see time in traditional alignments. Good, but not elite burst or long speed. Is not a fit for a shotgun exclusive offense running laterally is not his strength. Not targeted as often as a receiver: mostly due to the QB play observed in 2015. Needs to work on securing the ball more consistently fumbling 5 times over past two seasons. Lacks elite home run speed. Is not a polished pass protector, gives good effort but must work on technique keeping his head up to hit the target and his feet moving to stay engaged.

Paul Perkins suffered a knee injury against Cal in the 2nd quarter and did not return to the game. He did not suffer any ligament damage and returned for UCLA’s next opponent, Colorado. He showed no ill effects producing 159 total yards from scrimmage and 2 TDs which was his 3rd best game of the season.

He has football in his genes: his father, Paul “Bruce” Perkins, played fullback at Arizona State and in the NFL for 2 seasons. His uncle is former Cowboys fullback, Don Perkins, who played  from 1960-1968 in Dallas. His younger brother Bryce Perkins, plays QB for Arizona State.

Overall Paul Perkins is a solid physical interior back who will break tackles and projects best to a scheme that favors a physical inside rushing attack with two tight ends, or with a fullback in an I-formation. He is not ready to be a starter as a rookie without improving his consistency in pass protection, but would be an excellent closer type back to secure leads in the 4th quarter. NFL comparison: Marion Barber III

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  • gcarr1213

    He’s not as physical as I would like though. I prefer Booker. But the Howard kid from Indiana is similar to David Johnson for the Cards.

  • Michael

    Lmfao. Did you even watch the kid? MB3, really?

  • MikeRay34

    @Michael You don’t have to agree. Welcome to discuss. Nose for the end zone. Excellent balance, breaks tackles, capable receiver. Lacks great speed but can get to the perimeter. Perkins does not go crazy after a 2-yard gain if that is the basis of the comparison.