Draft Profile: Denzel Perryman (ILB)
Scouting the Ex-Hurricane as a Fit for the Dolphins at Inside Linebacker
ILB- University of Miami
2013 First Team All-ACC
2014 First Team All-ACC
Played 3 Years as ILB, 1 as OLB (Often Used as Hybrid)
40-Yard Dash: 4.78 sec.
Bench Press: 27 Reps
Vertical Jump: 32”
Broad Jump: 9’5”
Any sports fan who says they don’t love seeing players grow up in South Florida, play for the University of Miami, then get drafted by the Dolphins, is lying. Denzel Perryman has been a staple of UM’s defenses since his freshman season (when he earned All-ACC Honors). Perryman has great instincts and strength coming downhill to tackle running backs. His tape showcases an all around leader, and a player who fits the mold of a defensive field general. Perryman has four years experience, which is a huge advantage for inside linebackers, and was voted team captain in his final college season, a testament to his leadership and poise through his entire career with the Hurricanes.
Common criticism of Denzel Perryman is his size, standing at only 5’11”. Despite his height, he came in at 236lbs, at the Combine, which is a good playing weight for an inside linebacker, and absolutely ridiculous considering he is only 5’11”. While Perryman showed flashes of his speed on tape, his 40-yard dash drew a red flag, coming in at a pedestrian 4.78 (he did amend this by running around a 4.6 at Miami’s pro day). Many coaches will ignore that, citing game film as the most important source of information (which it is), but it could raise questions as to his conditioning and offseason training leading up to the Combine. Perryman did display great strength at the combine, posting 27 reps in the bench press. Perryman’s time at UM was spent switching between inside and outside linebacker, so he has more experience chasing down quarterbacks than most players at his position. He would add to an already dangerous group of pass rushers with Wake, Vernon, and the newly added Ndamukong Suh.
At the end of the day, teams will disregard Perryman’s 40-yard dash speed and look to his game film, which shows a linebacker with good athleticism and strength, who excels at tackling and defending his zone in the middle of the field. Perryman often overcompensates on tackling and attempts arm-tackles, which will get him in trouble early on in his NFL career (but it is a very correctable issue). He also occasionally appears to be a heavy runner, meaning he doesn’t glide across the field easily. It will be an adjustment for him to have to cover NFL level tight ends, and he will have to be quicker in his reactions to cover enough ground to bring down running backs. Perryman provides strength in the middle for a defense, but will have to work hard to adjust to the speed and quickness of an NFL offense.
The Dolphins are picking too high in the first round to select Denzel Perryman there, and would be better off selecting another player with the 14th pick. If Perryman were still available when the Dolphins pick in the 2nd round, he would be a very solid choice to help fill the team’s need at linebacker. Overall, Perryman is a strong player with good instincts, but does have to improve on his reaction time in coverage, and add quickness when moving across the field to make tackles. If he can improve his agility, and refine his responsiveness in coverage, he would be a solid option for the Dolphins, and could be another great hometown addition for Miami.