Three-star prospect Denzel Perryman was born and raised in Coral Gables, Florida, and stayed home to play his college football over teams like LSU, Notre Dame, and Florida. Perryman has been a part of the Miami linebacker rotation since he was a freshman and earned a reputation as a punishing tackler very early in his career. Perryman enters the 2015 NFL Draft as a projected 2nd round linebacker.
Denzel Perryman played in all 12 games as a freshman and finished his season with 69 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 forced fumbles. Perryman had some spot starts as a freshman, but was never the full time starter. As a sophomore Perryman played in only nine games with six starts partially due to an ankle injury which sidelined him for two weeks early in the season. He still managed to rack up 64 tackles, 6 TFLs, 2 pass defenses, an INT, and a force fumble.
As a junior Perryman became the starting outside linebacker in Miami’s 4-3 defense. He started all 13 games for the Hurricanes racking up 108 tackles, 5 for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 pass breakups, and another forced fumble. His first year as a starter was good enough to earn him a first team All-ACC award. As a senior Perryman once again started all 13 games and continued to show off his run stopping ability racking up 110 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 5 pass breakups, and an INT. 2014 was Perryman’s best season as a Hurricane and it earned him yet another first team All-ACC selection and a spot on the All-American 3rd team.
Coming into the draft Perryman is noted as a hard hitting run stopper at the inside linebacker position. He’s a durable and tough player with great instincts for the game, a nose for the football, and great leadership.
|DOB||December 5, 1993||Bench (225 lb)||27 reps|
|Weight||236 lbs||Broad Jump||9’5″|
|Arms||31.875″||20 Yard Shuttle|
|Hands||9-1/2″||3 Cone Drill|
|40 Yard Dash (10 yd split)||4.78 sec (1.68 sec)||60 Yard Shuttle|
Stats and Awards
|University of Miami (2011-2014)||Awards and Accolades|
|2014 – 110 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 5 PD, 3 FF, 1 INT||Selected to the All-ACC First Team by the leagues’ coaches, 3rd Team All-American honors from the Associated Press, also a Butkus Award Finalist (2014)|
|2013 – 108 tackles, 5.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 3 PD, 1 FF||All-American Honorable Mention by Sports Illustrated, also selected to the All-ACC First Team by the leagues’ coaches (2013)|
|2012 – 64 tackles, 6.0 TFL, 0.0 sacks, 2 PD, 1 FF, 1 INT|
|2011 – 69 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 1.0 sacks, 2 FF|
- Stout frame
- Great strength
- Good straight line speed
- Great ability to read and react to the run
- Can identify the gap and cover it
- Punishing tackler who knows when to wrap up and when it’s ok to go for the big hit
- Aims low on runners
- Sheds blocks well and is quick to disengage and get back into the play
- Has the ability to read the QB well on pass plays and react to the throws
- Is good at patrolling his zones and covering receivers in his area
- Has the strength to match up against offensive lineman on the pass rush
- Was a great leader at Miami and has a great work ethic
- Height is a concern
- Not an agile player
- Not an explosive player
- Slow to accelerate which causes him to be late on some tackles
- Lack of agility causes him to struggle with more agile backs
- Struggles in man coverage
- Cannot cover bigger tight ends
- Is limited as a pass rusher because of his size
Perryman’s strongest trait is his run stopping ability. This shows up all the time in his film. He’s constantly finding his way to the ball carrier and making a play on the run. He shows great knowledge of his gap assignments and the intelligence to cover them and make plays against the run.
The #1 thing that a good run stopper has to have is vision. He has to be able to watch the play develop in the backfield and then shoot for the gap to stop the play. Where Perryman excels is not only his vision, but in his ability to recognize the hole and hit it. This play is a very good example of that.
Perryman is the MIKE on this play, meaning he covers the weak side A-gap and the strong side A-gap. The running lane being created to the left is the weak side B-gap which is the responsibility of the WILL linebacker. Based on the fullback’s blocking that would appear to be the primary running lane. However, the lane doesn’t open up enough for the running back so he goes to his second option, the A-gap. Perryman reads the play perfectly and crashes into his gap before the running back even has a chance to make a move. The back tries to get to his cutback lane, the strong side C-gap, but Perryman is in the backfield too quickly and brings the back down for a loss.
Here’s another tackle in the backfield by Perryman.
What Perryman essentially does on those two plays is read the blocks being made by the offensive line, identify the running lane being created and he plugs it.
On this play, while Perryman doesn’t get to the running back in time, he’s still able to diagnose the play, identify the hole, and make his burst through it to get into the play. Perryman does this a lot, where he just can’t quite make the play, but even instincts can’t make up for physical limitations.
Here, he never takes his eyes off the running back even with a lineman in his face. Just sitting back and waiting to attack.
Perryman also sheds his blocks very well for a guy his size. One of the main problems Perryman should have is that his arm length allows him to get blocked and taken out of plays, but that’s not the case at all. He can rip out of blocks and get right back into the play with no trouble at all. Here’s an example of this against Nebraska.
Perryman is briefly blocked by the tight end, but then he just pulls this beautiful swim move out of nowhere and sheds the guy like it was nothing.
And I haven’t even mentioned his tackling ability yet. Perryman is a great wrap up tackler, but he can also bring you down with just his arms. He’s insanely strong.
Perryman also has a penchant for big hits.
The only complaint I have is that Perryman tries to go for the feet too often and will miss sometimes. He’s a big enough guy to hit at the waist, and even up high and still make the tackle, but he goes for the low hit and misses too often for my liking. It’s a minor thing, and he’s at least trying to make the smart tackle, but he’s got the size and strength to hit higher and still make the play.
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