Potential Patriots: LB Denzel Perryman

NEPD Staff Writer: Adam Bogdan

Continuing my Potential Patriots series, I decided to look at Miami’s middle linebacker Denzel Perryman based on the feedback from readers.

The Patriots have certainly struggled this year against the run at times, and their linebacking corps may be one of the shallowest positions on the team. While Jerod Mayo and Jamie Collins have exceptional athleticism, and with Dont’a Hightower becoming a pass rusher, there lacks a physical presence in the middle of the defense that can stuff the run with ferocity and fearlessness. That is what Perryman can do.

At 6’1″, 245 lbs, Perryman isn’t a prototypical run stopping middle linebacker, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in tenacity. The first player I could relate him too, in the way he attacks blockers and comes downhill towards the line of scrimmage, is Ray Lewis. He does a phenominal job of reading the play and shuffling down to fill the hole and tackle to running back. Instinctual with his eyes, he watches the quarterback as he goes through reads and then breaks on underneath routes, delivering hits that jar balls loose. Just like Lewis though, he doesn’t have the quickest of feet and will not be able to run with slot WRs or athletic TEs downfield, which is where he could be easily exposed.

In his college career, he has played all four years at Miami, including five starts as a true freshman. Here are his career stats from HurricaneSports.com.

I watched his full game against Louisville thanks to Draftbreakdown.com and will highlight some his strengths and weaknesses.

On the first play from scrimmage, Perryman drops back into a curl/hook zone and was able to feel his way to the receiver and then break on the ball once the quarterback started his motion to throw the ball.

At times, he reads the play for too long, giving blockers time to make their way up to him on the second level, or he loses his patience and over pursues the play, taking himself out of position.

What he excels at is his downhill attacking of block with absolute disregard for human life. This play, knowing the down and yardage, Perryman flies toward the line to make the push to try to stop the back short of the first down.

Despite not getting to the quarterback always, the way Perryman approaches blitzing causes quarterbacks to throw the ball out of the sheer thought of him hitting them. Here, he pushes two blockers back towards the QB even though they outweigh him by over 300 lbs.

One thing I noticed was that in every defensive play for the Hurricanes in the first quarter Denzel Perryman was always around the ball in both the run and pass game. This nose for the ball, or ball carrier, is an underrated factor for defense players, specifically linebackers and safeties, and it is one area of the game that Perryman has shown often.

One of the early highlights of the game came from Perryman and the DE combining for a sack/strip of the quarterback where Perryman slid past the offensive linemen moving to block the DE to deliver a crushing blow, knocking the ball loose.

Again, his downhill style, combined with his short area quickness, allow him to find holes and stuff the running back in the backfield to stop them in a short yardage situation.

Just to highlight the pure strength this kid has, here he simply pancakes an offensive lineman on a blitz and then reacts to try to jump and catch the throw.

One draw back to his intensity is a habit that makes him go for the big hit, lowering his head and leaving his feet, instead of squaring up and using his power to make a proper form tackle.

Another highlight play, Perryman shoots the gap perfectly and delivers a forceful hit to the running back several yards behind the line of scrimmage.

At the end of the game it appeared that Perryman hurts his leg, but it wasn’t a major concern at that point in time. Currently he leads the team with 18 tackles in two games so far this season. I look forward to seeing him continue to progress as a leader on the Miami defense, with plenty of future highlights to be made. Given his limitations in pass coverage, he could fall to the Patriots later on in the draft or in the second round. It is far too early to begin to assess mock draft positions for both teams and players, this is just a profile on a player that has garnered some interest from readers and myself.

Please comment with your opinions and with suggestions on who I should take a look at next.

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18 Responses to “Potential Patriots: LB Denzel Perryman”

  1. rdf63 says:

    I would be very happy if Perryman fell into the 2nd round. If the Patriots do not reach the playoffs this year, he might be available. His size 5’11” 245 lbs may help the Pats get him in the 2nd without a trade. I think he would be an excellent complementary ILB and he is one of the hardest hitting ILB I have seen in a long time.

  2. joe says:

    Maybe you the writer can do potential trade partners for this year to get an offense of lineman. And who the pats can get for players before the trade deadline ends. And no incognito

    • Adam Bogdan says:

      I would love the chance to, but my jurisdiction is writing about college players at the moment. What I can do is do a little bit here though. Not a ton of OL that are getting thrown around in trade rumors or falling out of disfavor on teams, so can’t even really begin to speculate who they could target. I don’t see anything immediate happening, they want to give who they have time to gel still before making any big personnel moves. Not a lot of free agents out there either after I looked around, sadly Incognito is by far the best guard available right now. At this point in time we just have to bite down and hope something meshes with them.

  3. Russell says:

    I think IF the Patriots look for a LB early it would be a guy like DE Alvin Dupree 6’4″ 265, and work him into a OLB, as a future starter/pass rushing LB in a rotation with the 3 starting LB’s.

  4. Adam Bogdan says:

    Sorry guys for the clips not showing up. The last several paragraphs had associated game film with them. I’ll see if I can add them in later today so the paragraphs make a bit more sense.

  5. acm says:

    Good prospect but don’t think he fits the Patriots mold for the LB position (don’t think he is quite up there at 6’1″, iirc). He is the size of Bobby Wagner but that’s more like dwarf-size by Pats standards. Not that he can’t be useful, just that I have a hard time seeing them go for Perryman.

    I personally expect Perryman would go somewhere in the 2-3 round range – his size and lack of scheme versatility would limit his draft stock, imo. And Pats could well be looking for OL, RB, TE, CB/SAF and dare I say it, even WR too, in rounds 1-3 in the draft. It’s not that the LB position could not benefit from some fresh blood, it’s just that they already have three starter-level players there. If they were to go LB early instead, and especially a player who doesn’t fit their usual profile at the position, I’d think they splash on someone like Vic Beasly or Zach Hodges, for example – players who’d bring more scheme versatility to the table than someone like Perryman.

    I personally hope Brandon Sherff gets a DUI or punches a cop in the days before the draft. Although at this point wouldn’t say no to OL Collins or Sambrailo either, tbh.

    • carlo strada says:

      No DT for the pats?

      • Russell says:

        If this is the last year for Wilfork, then maybe a DT in the draft , Davis sounds good .

        • steve earle says:

          Another prospect I’d throw in would be Danny Shelton NT Wash. 6′ 2″ 336. has impressive sack total for a NT and size to control inside.

      • acm says:

        OK, my reply somehow disappeared or should I say it was never posted in the first place – nothing to do with censorship, forum was acting-up, I am afraid. So, I am gonna give it another go here:

        DT could well be a consideration there too, carlos. A lot would depend on the value being available at certain positions of need.
        Also, positions of need in the draft would evolve during the season and the post-season. I mentioned those specific positions based on where I feel the Pats could use to improve the most as of right now.

    • Russell says:

      I think Oline in the early draft has you said, but I think Collins, and surely Sherff will be gone. I like Laken Tomlinson from Duke, good chance he is on the board 1st- early 2d round.
      I also agree on Perryman size being an issue. He is not that much differant from Steve Beauharnais, who played OK in preseason and was cut.

      • steve earle says:

        Can’t see your point that Perryman equates to another Beauharnais. Perryman’s production, range and intensity is far above anything I saw with Beauharnais. Just because he doesn’t fit the accepted size/height requirments means darn little. How many prospects have we seen with the right sizes pass through Foxboro only to end on the p-sqd or just get cut outright? Maybe I’m wrong but he looks to be cut from the same cloth as Teddy B. jmo.

      • acm says:

        It’s a bit too early to make predictions regarding draft stock but I agree- one could well expect both Sherff and Collins to be gone by the time the pats are picking in the 1st, especially the former.
        OL Tomlinson is another good prospect but he has a lot of improvement to do to convince me he’d be worth a 1st round pick. Right now I don’t think I could justify more than a 2nd rounder (Pats usual territory i.e. late 2nd) for him, although we all know BB moves in mysterious ways.
        At this point, I personally would prefer someone like Ty Sambrailo, who brings OG/OT versatility. I am talking 2nd round here again, not 1st and he could use getting stronger in the upper body this year.

        This being said, I still hope Brandon Sherff punches a cop outside a bar.

  6. Russell says:

    Right now the guy I like best for the Patriots early in the draft is Laken Tomlinson OG 6’3″ 320 Duke, a two time academic all-ACC. Looks like a great Olineman, in run or pass game, great foot work, pulls well, needs alittle work on hand placement, solid balance,great body build. Hard worker in the off season.
    As far as LB its hard to find the right fit for the Patriots, and Bill may look to the later rounds for a guy he can work into a future starter. Maurice Falls LB 6’3″ 250 runs a 4.53 40, 36″ vertical, 425 bench ???

    • steve earle says:

      I also like Tomlinson and would be happy with him in the 1st although BB seems to have an aversion to taking o-line in the first rd.

    • rdf63 says:

      I like Tomlinson as well and he may be a player the Pats could get with one of their fourth round picks. Two player I really like are OT Brandon Scherff out of Iowa and OG AJ Cann of South Carolina. Scherff is starting to slip a little bit in the 1st round ratings but is an absolute beast. Cann is your classic power guard who bursts out of his stance with strong lower legs and bulldozes opponents similar to John Hannah’s style. I liked last years pick of Stork from FSU and think he will be a solid OL for a lot of years. I hope the Pats are considering using two of their top three or four picks and solidify the offense line for a long time.

  7. steve earle says:

    Perryman would be a great 1st rd pick for the Pat’s. Adam has identified a prospect who could be a long term 3 down ILB that could play at or near an all pro level for many years imo. Add a couple of o-line in the 2nd and 3rd rounds and strong overall improvement can be expected. Resigning key vets already on the roster and perhaps pick up one or two urfa and we will be greatly improved.

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