NY Jets Optimistic Roster Breakdown: RB La’Mical Perine

NY Jets (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

NY Jets’ running back La’Mical Perine will look to make a lasting impression in his rookie year.

The NY Jets may have selected their running back of the future in fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine. Or at least that’s what the thought process was behind the selection.

Perine will step into a relatively crowded running back room featuring the likes of Le’Veon Bell and Frank Gore. But neither of those players are likely to have lengthy careers in green and white past this season.

Perine, on the other hand, will be looking to prove that he belongs.

The Florida product was never counted on as a lead back during his four years with the Gators. Instead, he served as a reliable rotation back who was more of a jack-of-all-trades than a true specialist.

And that’s likely a role he’ll be entrusted with in his rookie season.

But what could Perine do to ensure that 2020 is a success? How could he solidify his place on both the current depth chart and the future one?

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We continue our optimistic outlook series by breaking down what must go right for Perine this season.

Optimistic stats projection

  • 98 carries, 402 rushing yards, 4.1 yards per carry, 3 rushing touchdowns
  • 22 receptions, 184 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

*All optimistic stats projections are based on a 16-game output because….optimism*

The Jets are still expected to give Bell the brunt of the carries, but the presence of Perine and Gore could cut into that a little. In this case, Perine is the one who sees the majority of the work behind Bell.

Perine begins the season behind Gore on the depth chart but passes him before long as the Jets realize the talent they have in the young rookie. While Bell still receives the majority of the touches, the team clearly begins to groom him for future success.

The 22-year-old starts off as the third-down back where he’s praised for his pass-blocking and receiving skills. But soon he begins to take away most of Gore’s short-yardage work as well.

And by the end of the season, the Jets’ backfield resembles more of a two-headed monster than anything. Bell still sees significantly more touches, but his workload is cut down to almost a 60/40 split by the end of the year.

Perine’s numbers reflect this shift.

How La’Mical Perine could find success with the NY Jets in 2020

Perine will find success with the Jets in 2020 if he could convince the team that he’s the better change-of-pace option behind Bell. Barring injury, he isn’t going to overtake the three-time Pro Bowler, but he certainly could overtake Gore.

In all likelihood, Gore will begin the year as the Jets’ primary backup behind Bell given his experience not only in the NFL but in head coach Adam Gase’s system.

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But if Gore looks worse for wear and Perine provides a spark on his touches, don’t expect that to be the case for too long.

Perine will likely see some third-down work early on which he could parlay into more touches by simply performing well. In this optimistic scenario, he impresses the coaching staff with his willingness to block, his open-field burst, and his overall toughness.

He forces the Jets to give him more carries and he continues to impress when given the chance. As mentioned earlier, his workload increases as the season goes on, to the point where he’s receiving nearly 40 percent of snaps at running back by the season’s end.

With Perine shining, the Jets are comfortable shedding Bell’s salary in the offseason and rolling into 2021 with Perine as the lead back.

That’s about as well as anyone could expect Perine’s rookie season to go.

Perine will have two major items on his 2020 checklist.

  • Find a role in the 2020 offense and force the coaching staff to give him more carries
  • Solidify his role in the 2021 offense by making the most of every touch he receives

Next. NY Jets Optimistic Roster Breakdown: RB Le’Veon Bell

If he could accomplish both of those things, then his rookie season will end up being a massive success.