Southern California Junior
Has a good first step and speed to really challenge off the edge. Knows how to use his hands to slap away the tackle's punch, or use a rip move to beat the tackle around the edge. Flashes bull rush potential with his ability to get his hands inside and get push off the edge due to his first step. Does his best work when he can line up in the wider techniques, pin his ears back and utilized his speed off the edge. Has good straight-line burst and closes well when he comes off the edge to make sacks or stops in the backfield on the backside pursuit. Flashes ability to play in space, able to string out the run or pass in the flat. Has experience dropping into coverage and covering tight ends in the flat on zone blitzes. Can play low and get leverage at the point of attack when working against hte run. Shows ability to get his hands inside and hold the point when working against tight ends.
Is a fairly one-dimensional speed rusher that if he cannot win with his first step, struggles to make plays. Doesn't have the size or technique to disengage especially when a good tackle can get his hands on him. Doesn't consistently show great leg drive when working as a bull rusher or show capability of locking on and mauling a tackle there. Needs to do a better job dipping his shoulder and show a better array of moves, particularly the inside counter when he can set up a tackle off the edge. Tends to run around blocks too often on the edge. Can be slow reacting to the snap at times. Tentative when playing against the run, playing too much on his heels. Not that fluid when he's playing in space or working in coverage.
Perry was a very productive pass rusher this year and you see flashes of his ability to project well as an edge rusher on the next level. He isn't quite as polished in terms of his technique and array of moves but he has the basic skill set with his first step that with development he could be a very effective edge rusher at the next level. He has some experience playing with his hand off the ground, but that's not his natural position and his upside isn't quite what you want there to project well in the 3-4 scheme.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/3) vs. Minnesota: 1 sack, 1 pressure, 1 QB hit, 1 stuff
(9/10) vs. Utah: 1 sack, 2 pressures, 1 QB hit, 1 stuff
(10/13) at California: 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 1 FF
(11/4) at Colorado: 1 sack, 1 TFL
2011: 12 GP/12 GS, 54 tackles, 13.0 TFLs, 9.5 sacks, 0 INTs, 3 PD, 3 FF, 1 FR
- missed 1 game in 2010 with a sprained ankle
Perry has upside and USC didn't take full advantage of his skillset because they didn't play him in the wider techniques where his edge speed could have been an even greater asset. And his ability to translate quickly to the next level could benefit from playing in such a scheme. If he goes to a team like Philadelphia that plays those "wide-9" techniques, then his skill can translate more quickly to the NFL. There he could come in and contribute as a situational rusher right off the bat. If he goes to a more traditional defensive front, similar to what he played at in USC under Monte Kiffin, then he can add some value as a situational guy, but won't impact as quickly. He has upside, and if he learns how to use his hands better and develop his bull rush, then he can be an impact pass rusher. I don't see him being an elite rusher, but a guy that can consistently give you 6-8 sacks every year, and if he has talent around him that can slant protections away from him, could have the sporadic double-digit sack season. I think he's a bit more limited when projecting him to a 3-4. I think he can develop and play there, and be better in space, but I think in such a scheme you're looking at a nice complementary player more like Anthony Spencer than the next impact guy in DeMarcus Ware. He'll need to play in a scheme similar to what Wade Phillips has which primarily uses the outside linebacker as pass rushers, thus limiting his role in coverage. A player I would compare him to is Ray Edwards. I think like Edwards, if he plays across another top-end pass rusher, his limitations won't be as apparent. But I do think unlike Edwards, who is a fairly one-note pass rusher off the edge, I think Perry has the potential to be more versatile. Because Perry can win with speed, and flashes enough of a bull rush that I think that can develop. If he can improve his abilities to play the run then he can carve out a niche as a everydown starter rather than an overglorified situational guy. More than likely, like Edwards when he was at his best in Minnesota, Perry will be a top-end complementary rusher rather than a go-to impact rusher that teams slant their coverages to. But he should be a solid pro and should impact somewhat as a rotational pass rusher even if he shows no improvement from this point on.
Perry would be a nice candidate to replace John Abraham. Like Abraham, Perry has experience playing on either side of the line, but like Abraham he is at his best as a pure rush end going after the QB's blindside. He has the speed and first step that can be a problem for many NFL left tackles. The key with Perry and his ability to develop into the sort of heir apparent of Abraham that can be an impact and consistent pass rusher, is whether he can develop an array of moves, particularly counter moves that can make that first step even more effective. That will determine whether he reaches his full potential in Atlanta. But he is a nice fit because he can play with his hand in the dirt, but also give the Falcons some value with his hand out of the dirt if they employ a hybrid scheme going forward. Initially, Perry can come in right away and challenge for and potentially produce as the team's top end off the bench on passing downs. And with the presences of Abraham and Edwards already on the roster, he won't be forced to have to translate immediately as an everydown player, a role he can grow into after some time. He should be a guy that can potentially push Edwards or Abraham off the roster two or so years down the road and take over as the starter. He may not be a guy that can consistently challenge to be a 10-sack guy year in and year out like Abe has been over the years in Atlanta, but he's a guy that can consistently give you 6 or more sacks each year and in conjunction with other pass rushers form a formidable group. In that sense, he's more likely to add comparable value in Atlanta as Will Smith does in New Orleans. A good pass rusher, but not a great one.
Perry has first round talent, but because of his relative rawness and the probability that he'll never be an elite guy, he is more of a late first round target. He'd be a solid pickup if drafted in the twenties but not a reach if drafted in the latter half of the first.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Pass Rush: 7.5
Point of Attack: 5.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.