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NFL Draft: Giants take UCLA running back Paul Perkins

UCLA running back Paul Perkins, right, stiff-arms Arizona

UCLA running back Paul Perkins, right, stiff-arms Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III during the first half Sept. 26, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. Credit: AP / Rick Scuteri

New Giants running back Paul Perkins is the nephew of former Cowboys running back and Ring of Honor member Don Perkins. But it is a Giants Ring of Honor member to whom some scouts compare him the most: Tiki Barber.

“Tiki Barber is not a bad person to get compared to,” said Perkins, whom the Giants selected with the 149th overall pick in the fifth round Saturday. “He’s been a great running back for a long time. I idolized him growing up and to be compared in the same breath as him is an honor . . . We’re similar. I’m not sure how tall or big he was, but I feel like we’re about the same height and we have the same type of abilities.”

Perkins is only 5-10 and 208 pounds, and though he ran for more than 1,300 yards in each of his past two seasons at UCLA, he is not known as a physical runner. Like Barber, he is more of a slashing, slicing ballcarrier. He also set his school’s record for most receptions by a running back with 80 in his career.

The Giants have a muddied group at running back without any standout star. Rashad Jennings emerged as the go-to back late last season, but the team also has Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa and Andre Williams returning to their depth chart, plus the addition of Bobby Rainey in free agency. It’s a crowded, unclear committee that now includes a rookie draft pick, as well.

Perkins’ uncle isn’t the only NFL in his bloodline. His father, Bruce, was also in the league briefly with the Bucs and Colts as a fullback in the 1980s (he played four games). And his brothe, Bryce is a quarterback at Arizona State.

Now Paul is in the NFL, too.

“I think I can bring it all,” Perkins said. “I can definitely come in there with hard work and definitely come in there with the mentality to improve the team . . . I think I can be utilized in the passing game. I just need a team to utilize me like that and I feel like the Giants will use me to my full capabilities.”

Paul Perkins



5-10, 208

Skinny: Described by one scout as “a poor man’s Tiki Barber,” he is a slicing runner who can catch passes out of the backfield . . . Is UCLA’s all-time leading receiver as a running back (80 catches) . . . His father Bruce was a fullback in the NFL, playing four games for the Bucs and Colts; his uncle Don was a Pro Bowl running back for the Cowboys from 1961-68 . . . Ran for 1,343 yards and 14 TDs as a fourth-year junior, 1,572 yards as a sophomore.

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