UCLA’s Perkins Confirms Eagles Interest
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — UCLA running back Paul Perkins is set to visit Philadelphia for a pre-draft visit in the coming days.
The 5-foot-10, 208-pound prospect confirmed the news himself while being interviewed Thursday on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Each NFL team is permitted to host as many as 30 different prospects in an effort to lock down some of their due diligence in the process and Perkins, who most scouts have rated as a potential mid-round pick, is an interesting option at a position of need for the Eagles.
Currently the team has the oft-injured Ryan Mathews penciled in as the starter after trading DeMarco Murray to Tennessee earlier this month. Mathews himself, however, has also been the subject of trade rumors, an indication that the Eagles may want to completely reboot at the position.
The only other veteran running backs currently under contract are sub-package types, Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner, while two local projects -- Lafayette's Ross Scheuerman and former Villanova back Kevin Monangai -- make up the rest of the offseason roster so far.
Perkins, 21, finished his career with the Bruins having rushed for 3,488 yards on 621 attempts with 29 touchdowns, while adding 80 receptions out of the backfield for 739 yards.
Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman personally attended UCLA's pro day back on March 15 where the main attraction was potential top-five pick, Myles Jack, a player two NFL sources have told 973espn.com sits atop Philadelphia' draft board.
A scout queried about Perkins to the Eagles understands his allure to the current brass.
"Physically he looks a little like Jamaal Charles and obviously Doug (Eagles head coach Doug Pederson) is familiar and comfortable with that kind of back," the talent evaluator said.
The Charles comparison is a familiar one, albeit a little unfair considering Charles' stature in the game..
"Poor man's Jamaal Charles," one NFL general manager told NFL.com. "The tape tells you everything on him. He's not big, he's not fast, he has great feet and he competes."
The Eagles are certainly going to be drafting a running back at some point in the 2016 draft with many draftniks believing Ohio Star star Ezekiel Elliott is in play with the No. 8 overall pick. Perkins obviously would cost a lot less than that and projects as a contributor relatively early especially if he can hold up in pass protection.
Others set to visit the Eagles next week include Maryland pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue, a 6-foot-2, 252-pound blur off the edge who piled up 32 tackles for loss and 21 sacks in just 30 games with the Terrapins, as well as former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who hasn't exactly been wowing NFL folks with his interviewing prowess.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen