New York Giants running back Paul Perkins ended his 2016 rookie campaign on a high note. Perkins got the starting nod in the final game of the regular season over Rashad Jennings and validated the coaching staff’s faith by recording the first 100-yard rushing game (102) of the season. He continued to play well by contributing 57 total yards in a Wild Card Playoff loss.
Heading into this spring there was a lot of buzz that the former UCLA Bruin will be the man in the backfield, pending how they fare in the draft or who signs in free agency. After showing luke warm interest in LeGarrette Blount but not signing him, the New York Giants are all in on the second-year back.
Rookie of the Year predictions often look at quality running backs, although QB tends to take the glory. Other than Ezekial Elliot, Jordan Howard, Michael Thomas, and of course Rookie of the Year Dak Prescott, not that many rookies showed up to show out last season. However, Perkins had all the confidence in the world that he would shine once he got an opportunity. Before he even had his first full NFL practice, Pro Player Insiders caught up with Perkins at the 2016 Panini Rookie Premier to gauge his outlook on the next stage of his life.
On playing in the cold east coast climate after growing up in Arizona and spending his college years in Los Angeles.
I don’t know how I’m going to make it. I’ll have to commit myself to it. I feel like it’s not going to be too hard. I know Owa [Odighizuwa], he was on the Giants last year and I played with him at UCLA, so I’m just going to lean on him for advice.
His thoughts on his close friend since childhood — Green Bay quarterback and former UCLA teammate Brett Hundley.
He’s a great guy. I can’t wait for him to start playing somewhere, wherever it may be.
He discussed what he learned from his father and uncle, who both played running back in the NFL.
You definitely have to compete on and off the field. When you’re on the field, you compete with the guys in your position group. When you’re off the field, you need to get better by watching extra film and taking care of your body, stuff like that.
Speaking of competition, Perkins would begin the season buried on the depth chart behind the aforementioned Jennings and Andre Williams who are now departed, plus others.
You make it this far, you can’t get intimidated by any of the guys you’re competing with. I take it as a challenge.
On playing with Eli Manning.
Not too many people get to play with a two-time Super Bowl winner. His caliber and his pedigree is up there, so I’m really pleased.
The running back he tries to emulate.
I watched a lot of Marshall Faulk, growing up. I was a big St. Louis Rams fan. I kind of took pieces from everybody. I watched a lot of guys’ highlight film and just tried to mirror all of them. Like Barry Sanders, Gayle Sayers, Eric Dickerson — all of them.
What he brings to the team.
I want to be an all-around running back and be able to catch the ball out of the backfield. That’s what I’m look forward to hanging my hat on.
How he plans to spend time away from football.
Using this platform to affect people’s lives in New York, back home in Arizona, and also California.
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