49ers Eyeing Ex-Giants Starter Ahead of Sunday’s Matchup

Ex-Giants RB Paul Perkins Signs With Colts

Getty Ex-Giants RB Paul Perkins.

The New York Giants will be welcoming a battered and bruised San Francisco 49ers team into MetLife Stadium this Sunday. In doing so, Big Blue may very well come across a familiar face on the opposite sideline.

NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that free-agent Paul Perkins, a former fifth-round selection of the Giants back in 2016, was one of “several running backs” alongside Karan Higdon and Austin Walter to be brought in for a tryout.

Perkins’ workout comes on the heels of a slew of injuries wreaking havoc on the 49ers’ roster in recent weeks, namely at their running back position. Starter Raheem Mostert and complimentary back, Tevin Coleman, both suffered varying degrees of MCL sprains in San Francisco’s Week 2 victory over the New York Jets.

Mostert missed practice on Wednesday and is a longshot to take the field this Sunday. In terms of Coleman’s availability, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has gone on record stating that the running back is expected to land on injured reserve, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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Perkins’ Disappointing Run as a Giant

Before Saquon Barkley ultimately cemented himself as the Giants’ franchise running back, it was Paul Perkins who was supposed to rejuvenate New York’s once-dominant run game. The 159th-overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, Perkins was a versatile playmaker out of UCLA who was expected to carve out an immediate role for a Giants team who averaged within the bottom-10 of rushing offenses over the previous three seasons.

However, that initial impact never materialized, as Perkins opened the season as the RB4 on Big Blue’s depth chart behind the likes of then-starter Rashad Jennings, as well as Bobby Rainey and fan-favorite Orleans Darkwa. Perkins began to slowly carve out a role within the offense, and by the end of the season ripped off three straight games of averaging 4.86-plus yards per carry, including a 102-yard performance in the season finale (still a career-high).

The Giants saw enough from Perkins towards the latter end of his rookie season for the team to name him their starting running back four months prior to the start of the 2017 season. Unfortunately, that was about the final high-point of Perkins’ tenure with the Giants. He started the first four games of the season, never once topping 22 rushing yards in a single game. He would eventually be supplanted by the aforementioned Orleans Darkwa in the Giants backfield and ultimately falling to third-string on the depth chart by season’s end.

Entering the offseason, the Giants set their sights on improving upon their backfield woes, pulling the trigger on Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. Two weeks later Perkins was waived with a non-football injury designation due to a torn pectoral. He was later reverted back to the team’s reserve/non-football injury list where he spent the remainder of the season before once again being waived in early-September of 2019, this time for good.

Perkins had a cup of coffee with the Detroit Lions two season ago, bouncing between their practice squad and active roster. However, his struggles to produce yardage continued, as his career in the Motor City ended after just 29 rushing yards and a 2.4 yards per carry average. He also spent time with the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars but never made it to their active roster.

Despite his flawed resume to this point, Perkins, still just 25-years-old, has enough time to re-write his career trajectory if given the chance. With that said, he may soon be running out of opportunities.

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