Instead of relying on experts at various draft websites to find out about new Redskins inside linebacker, Perry Riley, I decided to turn to a trusted source. The writers of SB Nation's LSU site, And The Valley Shook. I asked the guys over there to give me their thoughts on Perry Riley, and they provided an extremely thorough break-down of Perry's strengths and weaknesses...and it struck me what his role most likely will be.
Full report of the 6'1, 239 pound LB, after the jump...
Strengths: Riley is sort of an all-everything linebacker. Chavis' defense relied heavily on the linebackers, and Riley was the centerpiece of the entire unit and, outside of Peterson, was LSU's best defensive player. He excels first and foremost at stopping the run, but he's also comfortable dropping back in coverage, and he is a terrific open field tackler. I can't think of a tackle he has ever missed. Riley is just one of those guys who just has a nose for the football.
To me this seems like a good fit for 3-4. Perry can learn behind London and even play next to him to stop everything coming up the middle.
Weaknesses: He's not a good pass rusher. Riley's more comfortable stuffing the run or dropping back into coverage, as he has real problems blitzing the quarterback. He was a starter for two years and he racked up only two sacks, though he did have 13 TFL's. He's also not blazing fast, he's far more suited to the middle of the field than playing outside.
With Orakpo and Rocky McIntosh as the speedy OLBs, Perry's role will be ILB.
Memorable moments: Riley had the game cinching interception against Georgia this year, which was pretty darn cool. He was also the Defensive MVP of the Peach Bowl two years ago, having one of those games in which he had double-digit tackles. He saved most of his big games for our best opponents as he had double digit tackles against Florida and State (which was a nail-biter), and had eight tackles against Arkansas and Alabama. He's not a big play guy, but he's the sort of player who seems to be in on every tackle.
After this description my first thought was, "Shanahan drafted Perry Riley to be London Fletcher's successor." So, I then asked Stephen his thoughts on Perry's leadership's skills.
"Perry was a team leader, but he wasn't one of the crazed towel-waving guys. Riley always struck me as more of a quiet leader who set the standards of hard work and simply doing your job. I really like the guy, but Cutrera was a more "fiery" linebacker and Peterson took care of the trash talking. Riley can play with emotion, but he's always struck me as 'professional' out there."
Does that not sound like Fletch? Just like with QBs, it would be invaluable to have London's likely successor be his under-study for 1-2 years. London's leadership, work ethic, and on-field genius is invaluable to grooming the next LB. I'll certainly be asking this question at OTAs.
One thing that's cool to see? Laron Landry plans to immediately take Riley under his wing:
"As soon as he gets here, I'm going to have him over [to his house] and we're going to go over the plays ourselves," Landry said of Riley, who was a freshman at LSU during Landry's junior year, on Saturday during a phone interview. "I've got the playbook at home, the coaches gave me that as soon as I came in, so I can help him out."