Prospect: ILB Denzel Perryman, Miami
Height/Weight: 5'11", 242lbs
Projected Round: 2nd-3rd
If you have seen any mock drafts for the Falcons in the last few weeks, you have more than likely seen this man as a part of it.
Perryman is a quick and athletic tackler who strikes fear into opponents. If you're familiar with him at all, you will know his reputation as being a hard-nosed, intimidating force that resembles something similar to a heat seeking rocket. If Atlanta is still trying to change their reputation as a "soft" team, Perryman's toughness will be a step in the process. His fearless play creates turnovers with spine-busting hits, and his tackling is textbook.
But his physical abilities aren't the only impressive asset the Miami standout possesses. Denzel is instinctual and looks to understand both defensive and offensive concepts. He flows with the play. He does not over-pursue. He keeps his zone and defends it well.
For a guy that is "5'11" on a good day", he is really comfortable in coverage. While lack of height may hamper him when defending taller receivers, his overall knowledge of the game helps him overcome that.
Without a doubt, Perryman's frame is his "Achilles heel". You would think his frame would keep him from shedding blocks, but at the collegiate level he has been able to do so. In the NFL, however, that may be a different story. It will be interesting to see how well that translates over.
Many dub Denzel as a 2-down linebacker, which is mostly a due to concern of his height. Can he cover 6'6" tight ends? I can't say for sure, but again, he did fairly well at that in college.
SCHEME FIT AND FINAL THOUGHTS
Perryman frequently operated out of two linebacker sets with the Hurricanes, so if Atlanta plans on running the Nickel quite a bit in 2015, they know they can trust him in that situation. I like him mostly as a middle linebacker in a 4-3, which may be our scheme once again due to a probable hiring of Seattle's Dan Quinn.
At 5'11", I can see Denzel falling to the late 2nd or early 3rd, which would be a complete steal. He is a player I would certainly take with our 2nd round pick, but If Atlanta happens to be on the clock with him available in the third round, they should waste no time sending in their card.
Who's the next prospect you'd like to see broken down?