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- Position: Linebacker (LB)
- Class: Senior
- College: Miami (FL)
- Ht/Wt: 5'11", 236 pounds
When I see Denzel Perryman, I see an instinctual linebacker without great instincts, if that makes any sense. Let me explain: Perryman is an aggressive player who acts quickly when he has a plan in mind. He doesn't read plays very well as they develop, and is often caught thinking rather than acting, leading to him being taken out of the play. He's a "see man, hit man" type of player, but he doesn't always do a good job of seeing the man in the first place.
Perryman has good core power and good short-area burst, which gives him a great starting mold for a middle linebacker. He tackles well, with good form most of the time. He's still becoming comfortable in pass coverage. The main problem is field vision, and sometimes a lack of aggression due to uncertainty in his assignment. Too often, I would be watching his tape and see him take on a blocker or fill in a back-side gap rather than go for the running back right in front of him. To be an effective starting NFL linebacker, Perryman will need to aggressively attack the ball carrier and take advantage of his athletic tools. His smaller size doesn't help his case for getting on the field; while he's strong, he's still liable to be engulfed by bigger offensive linemen more than you'd like.
I just don't see it with Perryman. He collected a lot of hype at the beginning of the season, then was "exposed" by his weigh-in and workout numbers at the Combine (which is bogus; anyone who followed Perryman knows he's small and not fast, so that shouldn't have affected his grade). I just haven't really seen enough quality play of his to say that I could rate him as a first or even second-day prospect. He had an especially awful game against Nebraska and Ameer Abdullah, which I've always had in the back of my mind since. I think Perryman's upside is as a situational linebacker and special teamer in the NFL, and I wouldn't draft him before the fourth round.