The NY Jets added some running back depth in the 2020 NFL Draft with La’Mical Perine.
With a lack of depth at the position and Le’Veon Bell’s future with the team unclear beyond 2020, it was expected that the NY Jets would target a running back at some point during the 2020 NFL Draft and the team did just that in the fourth round by selecting La’Mical Perine out of Florida.
A three-year starter for the Gators, Perine split carries during his collegiate career but led the team in rushing during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He also saw time as a wide receiver on various occasions.
In 2017, Perine appeared in 11 games and rushed for 562 yards and eight touchdowns on 136 attempts. He also caught 10 passes for 81 yards and one touchdown.
In 2018, meanwhile, he played in 13 games and totaled 826 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 134 attempts in addition to catching 13 passes for 170 yards and one touchdown.
Perine then finished off his time with the Gators by rushing for 676 yards and six touchdowns on 132 attempts during his senior season while adding 40 receptions for 262 yards and five touchdowns.
Overall, Perine is seen as the type of back that may not do one particular thing at an elite level but rather the type of back that can do many things well.
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For example, he isn’t the fastest and he may not be the most powerful given his size at 5-foot-11 and 216 pounds, but he has decent speed (4.62 40-yard dash) and has proven to be a tough and gritty runner willing to do the dirty work necessary to pick up extra yards after contact.
As seen in the numbers he put up at Florida, Perine is also a dual-threat back, as he’s able to produce both in the run game and in the passing game as a wide receiver.
He also showed a willingness in the blocking department and the toughness to protect in the passing game during his time with the Gators and although he can certainly improve in that area, it’s this versatility that stood out to the Jets.
What could La’Mical Perine’s role be with the NY Jets?
Head coach Adam Gase had the following to say about Perine’s role with the team.
“It’s hard to anticipate that right now considering everything’s on paper, and we haven’t seen anybody practice. 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, and anytime that we can get guys that are coming in like that, that’s a good thing for us.”
As far as what can be expected out of Perine during his rookie year, it’s likely that he’ll see a bit of a limited role in 2020 given the presence of Bell and the addition of veteran running back Frank Gore.
If he performs well when training camp eventually begins, however, Perine could find opportunities here and there, whether that be as a situational rusher, a receiver, or as a blocker.
Overall, Perine should be expected to develop in 2020 and learn as much as he possibly can from both Bell and Gore, as that will set him up for the future. And ultimately, it’s more intriguing to look at what can be expected of him in the long term rather than in the short term.
While he may not have a prominent rule this upcoming season, it’s possible that Perine, if he develops and grows, could be a featured back in a committee-style rushing attack that Gase will likely look to implement down the line.
Especially if Bell is no longer with the team after this season.