Miami Hurricanes linebacker Denzel Perryman was the U’s best player on defense in 2013, and he has a big decision to make when it comes to declaring for the 2014 NFL Draft or staying in Coral Gables for another season. The junior is certainly good enough to declare, and the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reports that Perryman was given a third-round grade by the NFL Draft Advisory Board, which is a very solid grade considering the board is usually conservative with the projections they dish to prospects.
Jackson reports that Perryman is still “mulling” over his options, and his decision to turn pro or stay in school could come down to the wire. It’s never an easy decision for most prospects, and there’s plenty of Perryman to weigh. Does his draft stock stand to gain by staying or is there significant risk involved? How badly does he want to stay and who else is staying/leaving the ‘Canes program?
Perryman is a solid linebacker prospect, and he’s a well-rounded player overall. What helps his draft stock greatly is the fact that he has experience playing inside or outside, and teams do crave versatility more than ever these days. More importantly, Perryman can’t be knocked as a two-down linebacker, as he fits what teams are looking for these days with his athleticism. He is a fully legitimate three-down linebacker, and he is fast and athletic enough to hold up in coverage in the pros. That’s part of the reason why he is expected to go in the third round, because he isn’t one of those big, run-stuffing LBs who can’t cover. Perryman’s forte, like most LBs who spend most of their time on the inside, is run defense, but he isn’t one-dimensional by any means.
Last season, the strong, smart LB recorded 108 tackles, five tackles for loss, and three pass break-ups, and his gap-shooting, explosive style lends itself to high tackle numbers. He’s a prospect I am pretty high on, and I think he would make a great third-round pick. I think he’s polished enough to declare for the draft, but this is definitely that could go either way; there are great reasons for him to either stay or make the jump.