In the same way that the Cincinnati Bengals need a specific type of tight end in their offense, what Samaje Perine brought to the team was something specific to him.
This is why when discussing who Cincinnati should select at running back in the upcoming draft, there are a couple who can take the literal sting out of losing him to the Denver Broncos. It will not be easy, but there are a couple of players in the draft capable of easing the pain of his loss for Bengals fans.
Chase Brown (Illinois)
Brown is an extremely smart player when it comes to pass blocking and picking up blitzes. He is consistently where he needs to be and knows which player he needs to pick up. Furthermore, it is not just knowing who to pick up. A running back must be able to do it and Brown executes his pass block as well as you could hope for from a running back.
Ideally, you do not want your running backs or tight ends to have to pass-block top edge rushers in the NFL but as Bengals fans know, it happens. It happened to Brown as well when he found himself one-on-one against Wisconsin’s Nick Herbig.
Herbig is one of the best pass rushers coming out of this draft class. Brown did an excellent job of pass-blocking against a player with 36 career sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss last season.
The cliché is that rookie running backs need time to adapt to this part of the game in the NFL. Sort of. If a running back can’t do it in college, teams would be foolish to count on him doing it in the NFL. In Brown’s case, he would have no issue in performing in this area.
He is an incredible player in the other aspects of the game as well. On the very first drive versus Wyoming, Brown was a one-man wrecking crew. On the very first play from scrimmage, he broke off a 38-yard run where he showed off his elusiveness to make a man miss in the backfield, acceleration through the hole, speed down the sideline, and power to break tackles. Again, on just one play.
On the very next play, he ran a wheel route and went right by the outmatched linebacker for a touchdown reception. An amazing start to a football game from just one player!
Brown never came off the field for situational purposes. He ran the ball on third and short. He was in the game on third and longs to help protect the QB and he was constantly a threat to break off a big run or make a big play in the passing game.
Last season, the former Fighting Illini running back was fourth in the nation in rushing with 1,643 yards. He also had 27 receptions for 240 yards and three receiving touchdowns.
Not only is he the perfect back to help Bengals fans forget about what Perine brought to pass blocking, but Brown should also be considered a running and receiving threat as well.
PFF has Brown ranked 143rd. NFL Draft Buzz’s overall rank has him at 124.1. Mock Draft Database ranks him 120th overall. ESPN has his overall rank at 130. The Bengals pick at 131 in the fourth round. They might consider using the 92nd overall pick in the third round if they want a running back of Brown’s caliber. If not, he might not make it to them at 131.