Denzel has excellent short-area quickness when he read/reacts, enabling him to get to his spots very quickly and with a lot of force. He can get around blockers in space very well and uses his quick feet to really explode and punish the ballcarrier. His COD is good but has room for improvement primarily in coverage where he has gotten beat badly a couple times and has obvious trouble recovering in space. Limited in man-to-man coverage. While he is a little stiff when asked to turn his hips, he shows very good flexibility in his hips when tackling, unlocking them on contact with as much explosion as anyone in the country. His coordination, particularly when engaged with blockers has gotten better with experience as his technique (shed, footwork) has drastically improved from his ’12 tape to his ’14 tape.
Section Grade: 6.5
Pride / Quit
While there are some athletic limitations to Denzel’s game, his toughness is top-notch and he is the clear leader of the defense. Leads by example on the field, not a rah-rah type of player. Racked up 343 tackles in his career and has been a Butkus finalist the last two seasons, a testament to his nose for the ball. Every game I watched he made a game-altering tackle that set the tone for the defense and got his teammates amped up. His motor is always running. He pursues sideline to sideline extremely well based not only off instincts but off of his sheer determination. When he meets ballcarriers his aggressiveness shows in the impact. He’s the intimidator every team wants to see in an LB.
Section Grade: 7.3
Learn / Retain
Instinct / Reaction
Perryman is a very instinctual LB that recognizes plays as they are happening with very little lag in his reaction. He is an outstanding sideline to sideline player due to his read/react skills. He rarely if ever makes the same mistake twice aside from early on in his career when he would get bullied at the POA, but that was mainly due to being 210 pounds his sophomore year and needing to get bigger/stronger (which he did). His focus on the field is razor sharp but will struggle in man coverage when he bites on a move due to average COD in space to recover. Concentration in pass coverage is where he needs to improve the most so he can mask where he is lacking athletically.
Section Grade: 7.0
Strength / Explosion
Denzel has an excellent ILB body. He’s very muscular, stocky, and well-rounded in his development with great sand. One area where you can pick at in his body is his apparent average arm length. This occasionally will show up at the POA, where he can struggle to create separation. He has been very durable in his 4-year career, missing 3 games due to high ankle sprain his sophomore year. His explosion is outstanding on contact, unlocking his hips, lowering his shoulder, and landing heavy hands on ballcarriers consistently. He has a collection of bar-jarring hits in his career, many of which have separated the ball from the defender. Denzel is obviously very dedicated in the weight room and plays with strength at the POA. He is stout at filling holes and converts speed to power nicely.
Section Grade: 7.3
7 Read & React
He diagnoses plays very quickly, rarely ever gets fooled but when he does it’s usually attributed over-aggressiveness in pursuit which he needs to refine because his COD is average. His instincts are top-notch on a variety of runs, dump-offs, & the read/option which results in consistent disruption.
7 Initial Quicks
Has excellent short-area burst & quickness that enable him to explode out of his stance, avoid blocks, & get himself in position for the big hit
7.5 Play Strength
Denzel is stout at the POA, made a big improvement each year in this area gaining 30+ pounds & sculpting his body to better hold up vs bigger blockers
Exceptional form tackler, consistently wraps up & possesses extremely strong/violent hands on contact. Really explodes into ballcarriers, delivering noticeable jolts on contact.
6.5 Shed Blocker
Typically does a very nice job at stacking OL & getting under their pads to hold his position but tends to come downhill very hard & not always bring his hands with him, instead dropping a shoulder into OL which results in him being scooped/reached. Before his senior season this was an area that he was below average in due to sloppy footwork & tendency to stand up to locate the ball instead of shedding. You can see the improvement he’s made this season as a senior.
7 Run at Him
Denzel has made a strong improvement here in footwork and with his added size/strength. Can hold at POA not just by upper body strength but solid footwork to hold his ground. Flashed the ability to work a double & scrape off to make tackles (see ’14 UVA tape). He doesn’t possess elite length, so OL can get into his body at times.
7 Pursuit / Range
Fierce in backside pursuit, meets ballcarriers violently and wraps up consistently. Has effective range due more to instincts/effort than pure speed which is good, not elite.
7.5 Closing Burst
Denzel pairs elite instincts with very good body control to reach the ballcarrier very quickly/violently. Has explosive reactionary footwork in short areas, especially coming downhill.
6.5 Zone Coverage
Displayed the ability to drop, read/react to things in front of him very well. Big-time intimidator on anything over the middle when he’s in the zone.
5 Man Coverage
Denzel is inconsistent here on anything that requires him to cover vertically, especially when the receiver baits him with a hesitation move. Has the tendency to lounge & overextend, resulting in him getting burned. Doesn’t have elite COD or agility in space to cover big-time athletes at TE in the NFL. See the ’14 Louisville tape.
5.5 Pass Rush Ability
Denzel does a nice job of finding the openings on the blitz, but didn’t display any type of move except the bullrush.
The only errors Denzel has made are the aforementioned coverage ones & if he has to pursue long distances when he gets a head of steam. His aggression can cause him to over pursue. Overall he is extremely smart at identifying what the offense is doing & reacting quickly & efficiently.
Section Grade: 6.8
6.5 ATH ABILITY
7 INITIAL QKS
7 PLAY SPEED
7.5 PLAY STR
Section Grade: 7.3
Overall Grade: F 7.0
Denzel has a very compact, sculpted, and strong body that he risks and uses without fear. He is an excellent form tackler and a punishing, explosive hitter. Has very good sideline to sideline range due to tremendous instincts and anticipation. Excels coming downhill and in backside pursuit. He does an excellent job of squaring up ballcarriers in the hole. He is a quicker than fast player who wins with smarts, physicality, and his motor. Uses his quickness to avoid downfield blocking on swings and screens. Uses very good strength to hold up well at the POA vs bigger/stronger OL. Has excellent snap anticipation and can knife through the hole causing disruption/penetration behind the LOS. He also has gotten better every year in Miami, a testament to his work ethic both on and off the field.
Doesn’t possess elite arm length, height, or athleticism. Denzel will miss the occasional tackle in space by not breaking down and squaring up his shoulders. He lacks elite COD to recover if he misses the initial attempt at a tackle. Not a very good man to man cover guy on TEs. Has the tendency to lounge and over pursue in coverage, his footwork needs refinement in space and his hips are a little tight when he has to turn and mirror pass catchers. Refining his technique can help offset some of these issues but with his average height/length he wont be able to handle good receiving TEs. in the league 1 on 1.
Denzel is the clear leader on the Miami defense who has a reputation for being a hard worker on and off the field which is evident by his 30+ pound weight gain since arriving on campus and stories of taking player’s under his wing (Jermaine Grace). He has played OLB & ILB in the team’s 4-3 defense but Miami runs a lot of nickel and he is typically lined up on the strong side in this look. Denzel is a highly productive player and has finished his career with 37 starts, 343 total tackles, 234 solo, 26 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 INT, 7 FF, and 9 PBUs. His senior season he finished with 105 total tackles, 73 solo, 8.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT, and 3 FF.
Denzel has a thick, sculpted build and average height at 6-0 that he uses to play with tremendous leverage but also limits him in other aspects. His best traits are instincts, physicality, and anticipation. He does a tremendous job of locating the ball and timing the snap, resulting in a lot of penetration/disruption. He does an excellent job of knifing through the hole and squaring himself up on contact. His hips going forward unlock and explode extremely well resulting in him being an intimidating presence on the field. He meets ballcarriers with a vengeance. Not only is he a vicious hitter his form tackling is textbook. He really has improved drastically over the tape I saw from ’12-’14 in stacking/shedding OL. He disengages much quicker now and has developed a lot of strength and sand. His aggression/anticipation can serve as a blessing and a curse as they can get the best of him in long distance pursuit of the ballcarrier. This becomes an issue because his COD and athleticism are good, not great so he really needs to work on his footwork in space so he can breakdown and not overrun plays. Another area where his over aggression and lack of elite athleticism hurt him is in man to man coverage where he will struggle vs faster/athletic TEs. However his instincts and anticipation get to shine in zone coverage and he does a nice job of keeping things in front of him. He is a highlight waiting to happen on crossers as he is liable to take someone’s head off. He has very good sideline to sideline range, closing speed, and a non-stop motor which hides some of his aforementioned flaws. Denzel fits best as a 3-4 ILB or as a 4-3 ILB. I believe he is a plug and play ILB in the right scheme and if a team is willing to not count on him covering elite TEs downfield he can be an every down player.
Value – Top 32
Draft Projection – Top 40
Pro Comp = D’Qwell Jackson