Redskins coach Jay Gruden said there's a good chance the team will use an early draft pick on a runner to join Perine, Chris Thompson (leg) and Rob Kelley (ankle) in the backfield, Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan DC reports.
Thompson did a phenomenal job on passing downs until a fractured fibula ended his season after 10 games, but it was a far different story for Perine (3.4 yards per carry) and Kelley (3.1 YPC) on early downs. The only silver lining for the 2017 fourth-round pick was consecutive 100-yard games in Weeks 11 and 12, as he otherwise produced 3.2 yards or less per carry in each game with double-digit totes. Thompson will be locked in on passing downs if his recovery continues on schedule, whereas Perine and Kelley may end up giving way to a highly touted rookie. The Redskins don't seem inclined to add veteran help in the backfield, likely seeking an element of explosiveness that isn't available among the remaining free agents.
Perine, who totaled three yards on two rushing attempts in Week 17's loss to the Giants, finished the season with 603 rushing yards and one touchdown on 175 attempts to go along with 22 receptions for 182 yards and one touchdown.
It was an up-and-down year for the fourth-round selection, who figured to compete for the starting running back role out of the gate to start the 2017 season. However, things did not go exactly to plan, as Perine found himself buried on the depth chart behind Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson for the first 10 weeks of the season. After both Kelley (ankle) and Thompson (lower leg) suffered season-ending injuries, Perine finally got his opportunity, recording over 100 yards rushing in his first two starts. While he cooled off to end the season, Perine will head into the offseason once again contending for the starting role.
Perine is questionable to return to Sunday's road game against the Giants due to an ankle injury.
Perine left the contest on the Redskins' second offensive play, a four-yard run. If Perine is unable to get the all-clear for more snaps, Kapri Bibbs will likely handle the bulk of the touches out of the backfield. That said, the recently-promoted Dare Ogunbowale is also around to spell Bibbs.
Perine carried 17 times for 53 yards and caught three passes for an additional 21 yards during Sunday's 27-11 victory over the Broncos. He also lost a fumble.
Perine averaged just 3.1 yards per carry on the ground, but a healthy allotment of touches allowed him to pile up 74 scrimmage yards. He left the game briefly in the fourth quarter with an apparent Achilles injury but was able to return to finish off the contest. Perine could be limited throughout the week as a precaution, but his ability to return to the fray bodes well for his availability against a hapless Giants team on New Year's Eve.
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