The New York Jets already had star Le’Veon Bell on the roster as the clear-cut starter at tailback, but they still took Florida’s Lamical Perine in the fourth round of the draft. Here are Perine’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Jets’ over/under win total.
The Jets took Perine with the No. 120 overall pick in the 2020 draft.
Perine is from Alabama but surprisingly turned down a chance to play for Nick Saban out of high school and committed to Florida instead. Perine was used immediately in Gainesville as a true freshman. He played in every game and finished second on the team with 421 yards on 91 carries (4.6 avg) and one touchdown. He caught nine passes for 161 yards and one touchdown and that 17.9 average yards per reception ranked second on the team.
Perine was one of 14 FBS true freshmen to post multiple 100-yard rushing games and one of eight to post both 100-yard games against a Power Five opponent. He became the first UF freshman running back since Jeff Demps in 2008 to have multiple 100-yard rushing games against SEC opponents.
As a sophomore, Perine led the team with 136 carries, 562 rushing yards and eight touchdowns and caught 10 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. He ranked first on the Gators in total yards (643). His nine total touchdowns ranked as the fifth most a UF running back since 1996.
Perine improved again as a junior, leading the Gators team with 134 carries, 826 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown to rank first on the Gators in total yards (996) and second in scoring (48). Perine was one of three players who scored at least five rushing touchdowns, which marked the first time UF accomplished that feat since 2010.
Finally, last year he led Florida with 676 rushing yards in 132 carries (5.1 avg.) and six touchdowns. He also logged 262 receiving yards on 40 catches (6.6 avg.) and five touchdowns. Perine finished the season tied second among FBS backs with the most receiving touchdowns (5), and his five receiving touchdowns were the most in a season by a Gators back since fullback James Jones achieved it in 1982. Perine was one of only two FBS backs in 2019 to finish with at least 40 receptions, 125-plus carries, five rushing and receiving touchdowns, more than 675 rushing yards and 250-plus receiving yards.
While he tested as an average across the board at the NFL Combine, Pro Football Focus charted him with just one drop on 55 targets in 2019. His 10 1/4-inch hands were biggest among backs at the combine, and his wingspan ranked among the largest. Perine has some limitations in terms of elusiveness and speed (4.62 40-yard dash).
So why did he fall to the fourth round? Perine is skilled in the early stages of the run, where his sticky feet and quick eyes help him find his initial rush tracks, but his lack of burst and second-level creativity make him more of a grinder than a playmaker. His weight of 216 pounds needs to be added to if he’s to take the beating from defenses every week.
Here’s Jets coach Adam Gase on what Perine can contribute as a rookie. The Jets not only have Le’Veon Bell but signed veteran Frank Gore.
“It’s hard to anticipate that right now considering everything’s on paper, and we haven’t seen anybody practice,” said Gase when asked about Perine’s role. “But I will say this: We all like his skill set. He’s one of those guys that’s able to do all three phases that you look for a running back to do – be able to run the football, be able to be involved in the passing game, be able to protect. And I think he can do all three of those things. … I think we are getting a guy, too, that is very hungry, that is going to be playing with a chip on his shoulder. He obviously was surprised that he lasted to the pick he lasted.”