Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine declares for NFL Draft

After becoming the school’s all-time leading rusher Monday night, Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine has declared for the 2017 NFL Draft.

During Oklahoma’s 35-19 win over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl Monday night, junior running back Samaje Perine passed Billy Sims as the Sooners’ all-time leading rusher. On the heels of that performance, Perine declared for the 2017 NFL Draft on Tuesday.

For what it’s worth, news of Perine declaring for the draft spread on Twitter. Perine doesn’t have an active Twitter account, something Oklahoma confirmed. The running back did, however, make his announcement on Instagram with an identical screenshot to the one that was being passed on Twitter.

Thank you! #Soonerforlife

A photo posted by Samaje Perine (@samaj32) on

Perine had a breakout freshman campaign in 2014, with 1,713 rushing yards that included a 427-yard, FBS single-game record shredding of Kansas. Another 1,349 yards and 16 touchdowns came as a sophomore in 2015, and despite missing time with a leg injury and splitting carries with Joe Mixon Perine topped 1,000 yards (1,060) on the ground this season.

Perine stands just 5-foot-11, but his bulk (243 pounds) is more than NFL-worthy. He has proven to be a workhorse, with 263, 226 and 196 carries in his three college seasons. It’s an increasingly deep running back draft class this year, with notable early declarers like Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey, but CBS Sports.com has Perine at No. 5 in their most recent rankings.

One knock on Perine is his lack of production as a pass catcher for the Sooners, with just 40 receptions over three seasons. That does not been he’s incapable in that area, but it will be a question NFL teams will have when evaluating him.

Once Cook, Fournette and McCaffrey are off the board, Perine could be next running back drafted sometime in the second round. I specifically see three NFC North teams that could all consider taking Perine in that area of the draft, with the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings all in need of a running back to some degree. Otherwise a long list of teams with a possible need at running back, but not willing to use a higher pick on Fournette or someone of that ilk, but could easily take Perine with a Day 2 draft pick.

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