School: Miami (FL)
Weight: 242 lbs
Denzel Perryman will bring a type of attitude, a swagger, and a toughness to whichever team calls his name come draft day. Perryman is an old-school linebacker who loves nothing more than to lay the wood, and may just be the hardest hitter in the entire draft class.
Perryman is an undersized prospect, but you wouldn't know that watching his film. Perryman is a natural leader and plays the game angry. However, what concerns me more about Perryman than his size (see Chris Borland) is his athletic ability at the next level. Unlike other, more athletic linebackers of the class such as Paul Dawson and Shaq Thompson, Perryman's ceiling may be as a two down run stopper.
Perryman's strength is not pass coverage, and he is particularly a liability in man coverage. Perryman got picked on in college through the passing game, and in the NFL the running backs and tight ends will only get better and quicker, which leads me to question Perryman's ability to be a three down player.
Perryman is a very instinctive player, but there are a few instances when watching his tape where I believe he recognized the play but just simply didn't have the speed to make the play outside of the area he was responsible for covering. Perryman reminds me of D'Qwell Jackson or Brandon Spikes type player; two very good linebackers, who do their best work on first and second down.
Perryman loves the game of football. The Redskins took a chance on a player who didn't test well, but loved the game and embraced contact in Bashaud Breeland. Could they gamble on another over achiever in Perryman? It's hard to say with McCloughan now calling the shots. However, Perryman is an instinctive linebacker, and a tone-setter. I've never watched a game of Perryman's where he hasn't laid one hit that made me say "Ouch" out loud. Despite his lack of burst, Perryman plays to his strengths and takes good angles up field. Perryman does a good job of keeping his pad level low, shedding blocks, and keeping his eyes in the backfield.
Perryman isn't the type of-do-it all linebacker that McCloughan has had such success with in San Francisco and Seattle. Perryman is a liability in coverage and that will likely get worse at the next level. Because of his lack of elite athletic ability he will likely be limited to a two down linebacker. His size and durability are a bit concerning as well.
Lets take a look at some of Perryman's film:
Here, Perryman does a great job of reading the option, and shows good motor by running down Ameer Abdullah after he cut the ball up field.
This play may sum up Perryman's style best. Perryman absolutely blows up this play, including Cam Erving, and although he doesn't make the tackle, he disrupts the entire play, and his teammate forces a fumble.
Here is an example of Perryman's lack of coverage ability. He is originally in good position, but the slot receiver is simply too quick for him to keep up with.
Here is a good example of Perryman's ability to lay the wood. Perryman shows solid form, and gets a helmet on the football forcing a fumble.
At the end of the day, I grade out Perryman to be a second round player. His lack of ability against the pass is a big concern, that combined with his lack of ideal size could cause him to drop to the third round. However, you can't argue with Perryman's passion and production. Perryman would do be a solid addition to the Redskins front seven, and really help change the tone of the defense.