Joshua Perry, LB
School: Ohio State | Conference: Big Ten
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 254 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Second or Third Round
NFL Comparison: Sean Lee
Joshua Perry did a whole lot on a really good football team, but he was surrounded by stars such as Joey Bosa, Eli Apple, Vonn Bell and Darron Lee, so he didn't always get a lot of credit or recognition for his consistently good play. He's not a flashy player, but he rarely makes mistakes and always seems to put himself in the right place at the right time. Basically, he's got all the traits you want out of an inside linebacker.
At 6-foot-4, 254 pounds, he's definitely on the bigger side for an inside linebacker — Perry Riley is listed at 6-foot, 238 pounds and Will Compton is listed at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, while Ryan Kerrigan is listed at 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, Trent Murphy is listed at 6-foot-5, 258 pounds and Preston Smith is listed at 6-foot-5, 271 pounds. Some think he'll be a better fit as an outside linebacker, mostly because he's so athletic for his size.
- He's an excellent tackler, racking up 296 in his collegiate career, 229 of which came over his final two seasons. That's 229 in 27 games, or nearly 8.5 tackles per game.
- The reason his production was so good is he just doesn't miss tackles. NFL.com claims he allowed just one broken tackle over the past two seasons. Even if he takes a bad angle, which is rare, he has a remarkable ability to make arm tackles.
- He's built exceptionally well and is a hell of an athlete. His 10-foot-4 broad jump was the fourth best among all linebackers at the Combine, and it would be tied for the 12th best among linebackers over the past three years. His 4.68 in the 40-yard dash was the eighth best among linebackers in this year's Combine.
- To use one of the ultimate scouting report cliches: He's got a nose for the ball. You don't pile up 100+ tackles in consecutive seasons without having one. If this was Madden, I'd give him a 95 for Awareness.
- Perry was considered one of the top leaders in the Ohio State locker room, the same one that featured the aforementioned Bosa, Apple, Bell and Lee, as well as offensive studs such as Cardale Jones, Ezekiel Elliott and Taylor Decker.
- By all accounts a good guy. He befriended a young cancer patient and worked to raise awareness for pediatric cancer, and he spent a week volunteering in Costa Rica, per his OSU page.
- He's a very good athlete, but in a "jack of all trades, master of none" way. He's not going to chase down speedy skill players, and he's not going to bulldoze through offensive linemen.
- He leaves a lot to be desired in the quickness department. His short shuttle (4.43s) and 3-cone drill (7.24s) times at his Pro Day didn't exactly blow scouts away.
- Remember that gift for making arm tackles I mentioned? Well, sure the level of competition is high at Ohio State, but NFL players are bigger, faster and stronger. Will that ability translate?
- Perry will have plenty of work to do if he wants to be a three-down player. He can cover the less athletic tight ends and fullbacks, as well as some bigger running backs, and his height will help him some, but he's a definite liability in coverage at this point.
- A bit of a tweener, Perry could struggle to find a role in an NFL defense. With some conditioning work and some help in coverage, he projects best as an inside linebacker, but he doesn't appear ready to take over full-time duties as a rookie.
How He Would Fit on the Redskins
Perry comes across as a Scot McCloughan guy. He's built well and has a great motor, and he seems to love the game of football. He's a very physical player who will be a boost to the locker room and isn't going to create problems on or off the field. Even if he never capitalizes on his potential, Perry is a player who is likely to stick around the NFL as a useful backup for a lot of years. He does all the little things a team could ask for, and that's exactly what McCloughan is looking for in the draft.
If he slides to the Redskins in the third round, it's tough to see McCloughan passing on him.