This is the first in a series of articles examining players from the 2009 NFL Draft. The Falcoholic will also be putting together a retrospective on the 2009 season when the collective brain trust has sorted out just what happened this season. First up, first-round defensive tackle Peria Jerry.
It'd be fair to say that the Falcons expected a lot from Jerry in his first year in the NFL.
After all, the team elected to draft the Ole Miss product in the first round, ahead of possibilities such as linebacker Clay Matthews and cornerback Vontae Davis. A line with no pass rush capabilities outside of John Abraham and sometimes Jonathan Babineaux desperately needed someone to bring the quarterback-related pain, and Jerry looked happy to oblige. After all, a 290 pound tackle typically isn't being drafted to just sit there and plug a hole.
Sadly, we don't and won't know what Jerry would have done in 2009 because of a season-ending injury, a bad omen that eventually was capped by half the team being devoured by steam-powered robotic sharks. It seemed like that, at least. In our brief glimpses of him, Jerry showed that he had the ability to make his way around interior offensive linemen and beeline for the quarterback, though he didn't produce any sacks to show for it. In fact, he had only one tackle in two games.
That makes it difficult to project Jerry's future success. He has the physical tools to succeed, though injuries are going to continue to be a concern down the line. If Jamaal Anderson stays at defensive tackle, Jerry's immediate role would likely be that of a passing-down DT, creating havoc in the middle with the USS Babineaux while Anderson takes over in clear rushing situations. I do believe the team saw enough talent in Jerry to make him a three-down lineman, which leaves Anderson's eventual fate unclear.
So basically, what I'm trying to say is that I have no idea what Jerry will do next year. If he stays healthy, I expect he'll collect a few sacks and worm his way into both the defensive tackle rotation and our hearts. If he doesn't, my expectations can go all the way down to zero. Just like 2009, all I know is that I expect something. Do you, dear readers out in Readerland, have any thoughts?
Final Draft Grade: Incomplete