1. Great Fit in Minnesota:
The Vikings lost middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley to the Cowboys in free agency, so the starting MLB spot is currently up for grabs. Brinkley was a two-down thumper for the Vikings who was at his best stoping the run.
Miami’s standout MLB Denzel Perryman is a stout and sturdy 5’11” 236 pound old-school prototypical inside backer who defends his turf and can deliver a hit as hard as any player in the draft. Perryman is very good before the snap and has exceptional play recognition instincts to read and react especially against the run.
Perryman’s NFL value is strictly as a two-down inside linebacker with his best fit in a 4-3 system where he can stay clean and do what he does best, tackle ball carriers.
Perryman is a great fit largely because of Gerald Hodges’ emergence as an up-and-coming “Mike” in nickel packages. The veteran presence of Chad Greenway, who can also man-the-middle in passing situation, additionally lends itself to the idea that the logical missing piece is a two-down run stuffer.
The scheme and personal from last season hasn’t changed much, making Perryman a good fit and an upgrade over Brinkley.
2. Butkus Award Finalist:
The Hurricanes’ senior linebacker finished two points behind UCLA’s Eric Kendricks for the coveted Butkus Award honoring the nation’s top linebacker for 2014.
Perryman, an All-ACC First Team selection led the Hurricanes with 102 tackles (73 solo), while also collecting 8.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception, five pass defended, four breakups and three forced fumbles in 12 games.
The Butkus Award selection committee is comprised of football coaches, recruiters, talent scouts and journalists who study football talent yearlong. The committee seeks to recognize the qualities that defined Butkus’ career, with a strong focusing on the following traits: toughness, on-field leadership, competitiveness, football character, and linebacking skills.
3. Reliability and Experience:
Perryman’s impact has been felt since day one at “The U” when he saw action in 12 games and became the second leading tackler as a freshman. He has been the image of reliability for the Canes, leaving the program as a four year starter with 351 career tackles to his credit.
Across 37 career starts, Perryman was the mark of consistency with his toughness, durability, leadership, and production.
Perryman isn’t an elite athlete, but his great vision, quick flow to the ball, and secure tackling ability make him appear much more athletic on film.
Perryman is an angry tackler with a power presence to drive himself through ball carriers. An instinctive leader who can react to the action at the snap of the ball. Perryman sheds blocks well and shoots gaps with tenacity. He is a tone setter on defense who plays with energy and a non-stop work ethic. A blue collar player who brings physically and a level of toughness to the practice field.
5. Draft Day Bargain:
Perryman’s draft stock took a tumble at the NFL Combine when he ran a pedestrian 4.78 40-time and looked uninspiring in positional workouts.
A poor combine performance, a shorter than idea frame, and projections as a limited two-down inside linebacker may spell disaster for Perryman come draft time.
It’s not unusual for a traditional 4-3 inside linebacker with “limitations” to fall in the draft.
In the 2014 NFL Draft, Chris Borland, a similarly undersized ILB with pass coverage limitations, was drafted 77th over all by the San Francisco 49ers.
The Vikings third round pick this year is right in that neighborhood.