The Chargers drafted Denzel Perryman with the 48th overall pick in the second round in the draft. Perryman is an inside linebacker who played out his collegiate career at Miami University. He was a participant in the 2015 Senior Bowl. In addition, he was selected to the third-team All American and the First team All-ACC in 2014. During that same season, he was a finalist for the Butkus Award, and he led Miami with a total of 110 tackles. He started all 13 games in 2013 and even set a single game career high with 15 tackles against Virginia Tech. At the combine, he demonstrated his strength by performing a combine best 27 repetitions on the bench press. In addition, he turned in a time of 4.78 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and had a 32.0 vertical jump and 113.0-inch broad jump.
At 5’11” and 236 pounds, Perryman comes in as a burly and stout linebacker that fits the old school mold. He genuinely seems to enjoy hitting, and he uses his pads well to deliver blow after blow. His major strength lies in his ability to deliver a heavy punch directly into oncoming offensive lineman. He is able to defend his area well, and he can see past blockers. By keeping his focus on the play, he is able to disengage and shed blockers, seemingly at well. Given his body size, he plays low and has tremendous leverage. Once he figures out a play, he is able to trigger himself into gaps and disrupt the call. He is versatile enough to fit into a special-teams position, and many scouts suggest that this is exactly where he might excel in the NFL.
Graphic via fansided
A weakness has been noted in Perryman’s ability to ramp it up a gear when needing to change directions. He can also struggle to tackle runners who tend to juke in open space. The perception is also that he is a heavy-legged mover in space, and that he struggles to make plays outside of his assigned area. He does lack coverage traits, and is a liability in man-to-man coverage. It is also noted that his short arm length, at 31 7/8”, will not allow him to gain leverage blockers when asked to be a pass rusher. He is slow to get off his spot, and does not burst laterally when needed. This tends to result in him missing some great tackle opportunities.
In short, Perryman is a physical football player that plays with a chip on his shoulder. He plays angry, and this is exactly what is required at his position. He is tough and practices hard. He should be able to make plays against the run, but he might struggle somewhat when isolated in coverage. The Chargers selected a decent, but not spectacular, player here. He should fit in well, but the options are limited for how he will fit in the scheme of play on the west coast.
Graphic via fansided