Denzel Perryman

Denzel Perryman: Did not practice Wednesday

Perryman (pectoral) missed practice Wednesday.

Perryman was feared to have torn his pectoral muscle during Sunday's loss to the Raiders, but an MRI revealed nothing more than a strain. The rookie linebacker will hope for a speedy recovery this week, as his status for Sunday's Week 8 matchup against the Ravens remains questionable at best. If Te'o (ankle) is sidelined, Perryman could make his third straight start, given his health improves.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman: Dealing with strained pectoral

Perryman is dealing with a strained pectoral muscle, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

A tear was feared at first, so this is actually a bit of good news for Perryman, who was making his second straight start for the Chargers on Sunday, in place of Manti Te'o.

Bookmark and Share

Chargers lose Franklin, Perryman to injury

Orlando Franklin slammed his helmet on the motorized cart as it began to shuttle him off the field.

It’s been that type of season for him.

The Chargers left guard suffered a left knee injury in the fourth quarter of a 37-29 loss to the Raiders. He declined comment afterward in the locker room, but his mobility level said enough: He barely could walk. Franklin was one of two known, potentially significant injuries, as inside linebacker Denzel Perryman exited in the first half with an arm issue.

How serious these ailments are will gain clarity Monday upon further testing.

Perryman, a rookie second-round pick, made his second career start for Manti Te’o (ankle), but he watched the second half with his right arm in a sling. A torn biceps is the concern, a source said Sunday.

Likewise, it remains to be seen when or if Franklin can return this year.

Sunday was his first game back after missing the past three, having been carted off in Week 3 with a high ankle sprain. These injuries are something new for Franklin in the NFL; he missed just one game in four seasons with the Broncos.

Franklin then joined with the Chargers in March as their biggest external free-agency investment. His five-year contract is worth up to $36.5 million, including an $8 million signing bonus. Kenny Wiggins stepped in to finish at left guard.

“It sucks to see it happen to a guy,” right tackle Joe Barksdale said of Franklin. “People always talk about it’s the reality of the business that guys are going to get hurt, some kind of nick or bruise over the season, some guys obviously more than others. What I can say about Orlando is, the first time he was out, he kept a positive attitude. He stayed in tune with the game plan, was there for his teammates on the sideline, made all the trips to the games even though he wasn’t playing.

“We don’t know what the diagnosis is. Of course, we hate to see it happen. He’s a strong guy. He’s going to bounce back. That’s who he is.”

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman earning stripes, larger role

MINNEAPOLIS — The Chargers had five kickoffs Sunday.

Three were returned.

On the first, inside linebacker Denzel Perryman shed a block from a Bengals tight end and tackled returner Adam Jones at the 24-yard line. On the second, Perryman had the angle on Jones, who tried to juke past him but fell when his right knee buckled at the 19. On the third, Perryman squared his shoulders and stuffed him at the 25.

Perryman. Perryman. Perryman.

Chargers coaches have noted the trend.

The rookie second-round pick played only two defensive snaps Sunday in Cincinnati. Still, he finished the game with five credited solo tackles, tied for second most on the team. All five came in special teams coverage. His production is expected to lead to greater opportunity on defense, one that could come as early as Sunday against the Vikings.

The 21-year-old didn't see the field on defense in Week 1.

His two reps in Week 2 came in a goal-to-go situation when the Bengals were inside the Chargers’ 5-yard line during the second quarter. Perryman shot a run gap to help mop up a tackle that defensive lineman Darius Philon made behind the line of scrimmage.

Rep division at inside linebacker has been fairly concentrated over the season's first two games.

Manti Te’o has played all 113 defensive snaps, the man in the middle of the base, nickel and dime defenses, relaying calls from the sideline to the huddle. Donald Butler has taken the second-most snaps at 90.

Perryman, Kavell Conner and rookie Nick Dzubnar round out the depth chart.

Peryman is the only reserve to have seen time defensively.

“He’s somebody we’ve got to find a way to keep building on it,” defensive coordinator John Pagano said. “All those guys, to me, are so interchangeable, to be able to do different things with them in different packages without giving the game plan.

“We’ve got to find roles for those guys. Football players like that, it’s great to have as your backups because as you know, it makes everyone better.”
Perryman missed some time this offseason.

In the spring, a hamstring injury limited his activity during organized team activities. A second, unrelated injury surfaced in training camp and sidelined him for the Aug. 22 exhibition game in Arizona.

The former thumper at Miami is working himself into the defensive fold.

It’s not his first time.

“My first year (at Miami), I started off at special teams,” Perryman said. “I got massaged in with play time. I knew coming into the league I would have to play special teams. I’m just doing what I can until my number gets called. Last week, I had a pretty good week. This week, I’m just trying to be consistent with my play.”

Perryman made two tackles Sunday in punt coverage.

On one, the returner ran out of bounds, but they call count the same.

His six special teams tackles on the season easily lead the NFL. Rams wide receiver Bradley Marquez has four; he’s the only other player with more than three.
Perryman is the first Charger to total five or more special teams tackles in a game since Mike Tolbert had six in 2011.

Looking ahead, Pagano would rather not overload the rookie on defense.

But gradually, his reps will increase. That playing time, similar to Chris Watt as a rookie last year when rotating at right guard with Johnnie Troutman, ultimately could prepare Perryman to handle a larger role in the event of injury. Watt wound up being called upon to start in November.

"It’s something we emphasize to college free agents and draft picks or players from other teams,” coach Mike McCoy said. “We stress the importance of special teams, and he bought into that. He’s done an outstanding job, whether it’s the preseason games that he played in or the first two games, of his attitude and the way we want him to play it.

“And then, him having the tackles he had (Sunday), we give him a lot of the credit to the success we had covering things, him making the tackles that he did. I’m very happy with the way he’s playing in the kicking game."

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman is playing catch-up

Four months into his Chargers career, Denzel Perryman is a minor mystery.

Sorry to be self-referential, but I've little sense of how Perryman has fared since he arrived in May.

Injuries, both in the spring and the summer, have set back the rookie linebacker and second-round draft pick.

Perryman missed several spring practices due to a hamstring injury.

When he worked in June, hitting wasn't allowed. The Chargers, remember, drafted Perryman as a hammer.

Perryman looked fit when training camp began, having worked out with NFL veterans Frank Gore, Andre Johnson and other University of Miami alums this summer in Miami.

In the camp opener, he made a fine play that many rookies don't make.

He worked 25 snaps in the exhibition opener, Aug. 13.

Again, he reacted well, breaking up a pass for a receiver, but as coach Mike McCoy noted, he also was flagged for a late hit.

The hits have been few. An undisclosed injury sidelined Perryman last week, and the Chargers held him out of the exhibition at Arizona.

So even for McCoy, who with his coaches pores over tape of every practice and the exhibitions, Perryman remains something of a mystery.

Here's McCoy on Thursday, when asked how Perryman has grown since joining the team.

Well, he's learning the system. He's missed too much time up to this point in time, with injuries, unfortunately. That's all part of the game. So it's been more mental for him. The big thing is, that he's got to stay healthy, and really stay into his book, and learn, and get in great football shape, and get going.

He has made all three practices this week and is expected to play Saturday against the Seahawks. The Chargers will play another exhibition Sept. 3, against the 49ers.

For Perryman, 21, it's a chance to catch up. He's behind.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman was raised to tackle

Desmond Perryman stuffed a backrest pillow up his shirt, cushioning himself like a hockey goalie about to enter the crease. His son Denzel had just begun to play youth football. Dad wanted to teach him how to tackle, committed to living-room drills a few days a week until Denzel mastered proper technique.

They started when Denzel was 6.

They stopped when Denzel was 7.

"I actually had to brace myself because he would've knocked me down," Desmond said. "I knew he had it at that point. ... He was a form tackler at 7 years old, a perfect tackler. When a grown man has to brace for a 7-year-old kid, you know he's coming real hard."

Denzel, a grown man now, is set to play his first NFL game. The Chargers inside linebacker and second-round pick will debut Thursday night against the Cowboys. His parents will watch the exhibition opener from afar, as Denzel looks to apply on defense and special teams some of the homegrown hitting learned in South Florida.

The lessons are the foundation to Perryman's game.

All linebackers must seek out contact. Few seem to find enjoyment rivaling that of Perryman. As a boy, he ran at his dad and older brothers from a three-point stance and tried to tackle them. He practiced form against a door. He grew up watching a highlight tape of the NFL's hardest hits while idolizing Ray Lewis.

After an offseason of limited contact, Perryman gets the green light Thursday.

"A lot of people ask me am I nervous, am I nervous," Perryman, 21, said Wednesday. "I'm just (eager) to hit somebody else, to go against somebody else. ... I'm looking forward to that environment. I know it's a preseason game, but still, it's an NFL game, an opportunity for me to showcase why they drafted me."

The pillow drill is where it started.

Television time turned into tackling time. His dad gave basic pointers like to keep his head up, a safety measure to reduce risk of spinal injury and paralysis, and implored him to tackle through his target. If Perryman did not tackle properly or hard enough, his dad wouldn't feign impact and playfully fall to the floor.

He had Perryman reset and try again.

"He used to tell me, 'Everything you touch, you knock it down,' " Perryman said. "That's always been my mindset. Whatever I touch gets knocked down. When I'm coming to make contact, I'm going 100 miles per hour, and I'm not slowing down. At all."

Desmond, 47, coached Perryman from age 6 to the start of high school.

He knew the coaches at Coral Gables High, so he was comfortable stepping back. Still, he remained closely involved, the two speaking after every game. Desmond has attended just about every one of Perryman's games from Pop Warner through college at Miami. Any one he had to miss, he'd watch on tape later so he could rehash plays with his son.

Perryman appreciates it.

Some childhood friends had a mother without an active father. For others, it was vice versa. He grew up with both, his father highly involved in what became his career.

"I guess I'm his worst critic because I critique everything," Desmond said. "I just think he should be perfect on the field. I don't tolerate half speed or taking plays off. The motto in our house is 'it's all out or nothing.' If you're not going to go all out, then don't even get on the field."

Desmond cannot attend every Chargers game.

The drive to see Perryman play Pop Warner or prep football was about 15 to 20 minutes. For college, the commute was about 30. Any trip to San Diego is far longer, and as commissioner of Pop Warner football in Coconut Grove, Fla., Desmond has other commitments.

But he'll be watching Thursday night.

And his presence will be felt.

"I'll hear my dad's voice in my head," Perryman said. "If I'm missing a tackle, he'll say, 'Come on, man. Get it together. Take the proper angle. Bend your knees. Stop lunging.' It's already registered in my head."

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman anxiously awaits NFL debut

SAN DIEGO – Sprinting to the ball and tagging off on a running back isn’t what Denzel Perryman is all about.

He wants to hit somebody. And the University of Miami product known for the physical way he plays the game will get his first opportunity on Thursday, when the San Diego Chargers face the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium.

“It’s means a lot,” Perryman said. “This is my first NFL game, so I’m eager to play and just get in that environment. I know it’s preseason and whatnot, but it’s still an NFL game, and an opportunity to showcase pretty much why they drafted me.”

The Chargers selected Perryman in the second round of this year’s draft because of his penchant for knocking people backwards. At 5-11 and 240 pounds, Perryman led the Hurricanes with 110 tackles in 2014, earning third-team All-America honors.

Perryman ran a 4.68-second 40-yard time for the Chargers. Along with good athleticism, he provides versatility, with an ability to play both linebacker positions. And with projected starters Manti Te’o and Donald Butler missing a combined eight games last season, Perryman adds talented depth and competition at the inside linebacker spot.

“A lot of his game is based off of his instincts,” Telesco said. “If there’s one thing you could on him, it would be key and diagnostic instincts. It’s outstanding. And that makes up for some of that lack of height. And then he takes that lack of height and uses it to his advantage.”

Perryman wears No. 52 in honor of his favorite player growing up, Ray Lewis. He started wearing the number when he was six years old playing pee wee football, and tries to emulate the way his favorite player competed on the field.

“I was a big Ray Lewis fan,” Perryman said. “I even had Reebok cleats at the time.”

In order to do that, Perryman said he needs to continue to get better at the little things and steadily improve his overall game.

“I feel like I’ve been doing pretty good,” Perryman said. “There’s still some things I would like to clean up, little, small areas so they won’t turn into big areas.”

Bookmark and Share

Two proCanes Reunited in San Diego

On Monday, the Chargers didn’t just add a new defensive tackle to the roster; they bolstered their defense with another Miami Hurricane.

Luther Robinson reunites with ILB Denzel Perryman, and couldn’t be more excited to be back working with his former teammate.

“It’s pretty cool,” Robinson said.  “Denzel’s a character so he welcomed me in good.”

Being a rookie can be tough, but Perryman said having someone on the roster he’s previously played with feels great.

“I played with him and it’s great just having Luther here,” Perryman said.  “When I heard he was coming, I thought ‘It’s back to how it used to be playing at UM!’  But it feels really good having another fellow ‘Cane in the locker room.”

Robinson and Perryman shared the field for two seasons together.  In 2013, the duo was part of a fierce defense that forced five turnovers to upset ninth-ranked Florida, 21-16.

At 6-3, 301-pounds, Robinson comes to San Diego by way of Green Bay where he started 2014 on the practice squad before appearing in five games for the Packers.  Although he’s joining the Bolts mid-camp, he’s excited for his new opportunity in San Diego.

“I’m excited, and am just ready to come in, work as hard as I can and do the best I can,” Robinson said. 

As for what the Bolts are getting in Robinson?  Perryman calls his friend a “dog” who can “get after it and play.”

“Where we come from, we balled out,” Perryman added.  “I know he’s going to come here, earn some playing time and make stops.”

And as for what the team can expect out of their 2015 second round draft selection?  Robinson’s endorsement of Perryman is something Chargers’ fans are already seeing out on the practice field.

“He’s a hard-hitter ready to thump.”

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman Steps Up on Sunday

With four days of camp and two days in pads under his belt, training camp is becoming a smoother ride for inside linebacker Denzel Perryman. 

Having shown some flashes in shorts, Sunday’s second padded practice proved beneficial for the rookie.

Even Head Coach Mike McCoy was impressed with the rookie’s performance today.

“(Practice) was outstanding,” McCoy said.  “You saw 52 step up there and make some big collisions on lead blockers whether there was a running back, fullback or a guard at the second level.”

Perryman, who was grateful for his coach’s comments, said he feels like he’s getting more comfortable as each day passes.

“I feel like I did pretty good today and that means a lot,” Perryman said.  “It means I’m progressing as the days go on and camp goes on which is what every player wants to do.  The day was pretty intense.  We did a half-line drill today and in college that was the drill to get practice started.  It brought a lot of energy to the front seven because right after that we went to team drills so it was a pretty physical day.”

At 5-11, 240-pounds, Perryman is a thumper who enjoys playing downhill football.  He’s currently one of four rookies on the inside linebacking corps but said he’s been enjoying soaking up as much knowledge as he can from his veteran peers.

“You just learn from those guys,” Perryman added.  “Even when I’m not in, I just sit back and watch and ask questions while I’m on the sideline.  You just get a lot of knowledge overall and add things to your game based on what (the veterans are) doing.”

Although Perryman’s a new addition, his position coach is as well.  Linebackers coach Mike Nolan joined the team this offseason and his familiarity with players from Perryman’s alma mater has helped the former Miami Hurricane.

“Coach Nolan had the opportunity to coach guys who came from UM so he’s given me stories on how they did it and how they became pros.  With him being in the league for so many years, he’s sharing his knowledge with me.”

While rookies have to prove themselves in order to carve out their own roles on the team, Perryman’s sights are set high.  He’s taken the training camp mindset of competition to heart and is willing to do whatever he can to contribute game in and game out.

“I want to execute my role on special teams and hopefully take a starting job.  It’s all about competition on this level and it’s all a business.  If I don’t get the job done, I’m pretty sure then next year they’ll bring someone else in to get the job done.  I just want to get in and help this team win.”

Bookmark and Share

Chargers rookie Denzel Perryman makes a play

It was just one play.

But it was a play most rookie linebackers don't make.

Denzel Perryman got the jump on a pass and knocked it down.

There was no false step, no long pause that you see from most rookies. There was no fat to be trimmed from the route Perryman took to the ball.

It was a bam-bam play, defending an intruder, on the first day of Chargers training camp Thursday, and the rookie won.

"That was a pretty big play for me today," Perryman said.

A few teammates hollered praise, and veteran safety Jimmy Wilson congratulated him.

It was better than Perryman served in spring camp, when a hamstring injury sidelined him. He said he's now at full speed, having worked out in Miami in recent weeks with several NFL players who are fellow University of Miami alums, such as Frank Gore, Andre Johnson and Lamar Miller.

Tom Telesco, who drafted him in May, said Perryman will lend thump to the defense. The inside linebacker said he's excited that the pads will come on Saturday.
Finally, he'll get a chance to take on blockers and at least bump or grab the ball carrier.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman could start for San Diego Chargers

NFL Nation reporter Eric D. Williams assesses which rookies on the Chargers could earn a starting berth this season.

Why Denzel Perryman could start: As Chargers head coach Mike McCoy likes to say, the Chargers drafted inside linebacker Perryman in the second round for a reason -- he adds physicality and playmaking ability to the middle of a San Diego defense that struggled to stop the run last season. Donald Butler and Manti Te'o are still projected to start at inside linebacker in San Diego defensive coordinator John Pagano’s 3-4 defensive scheme. However, the duo missed a combined eight games in 2014. Perryman provides talented insurance should one of those two suffer an injury again in 2015. He also will see time on special teams. “We needed to get that depth, and to get guys that will make it competitive out there,” Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano said about the addition of Perryman. “It not only makes us better on defense, he makes our special teams better. And it pushes the veterans to always play at a higher level. Any position that we’ve had over the years, anytime there’s a lot of depth or guys pushing each other, that’s when you get the most out of each unit.”

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman scolded for dodgeball

This will not be the only Denzel Perryman thinkpiece you'll read on this bustling Tuesday morning.

Perryman, the Chargers' second-round pick and future starting inside linebacker, has been limited throughout voluntary activities with a hamstring injury. Despite this, he joined some of his teammates for an all-star dodgeball event that benefitted more than 25 local schools in the San Diego area.

The jumping and shifting was not appreciated by Chargers head coach Mike McCoy.

"It's been discussed," McCoy said, via U-T San Diego. "That's all I'm going to say. I've discussed it with him. That's it. You've got to get past these tests here before you do all of that stuff."

There's no indication that Perryman suffered any further injury from playing dodgeball, though the potential was there, which was enough to place the rookie inside McCoy's dog house.

But really, what's the difference? Hamstring injuries and other similar non-contact issues are so fickle and could happen to any player at any time. Dynamic stretching exercises help but can never truly eliminate all the risk.

Plus, it was for a good cause. If nothing else, a high draft pick should be applauded for getting into the community and meeting his fan base.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman limited in practice

Rookie linebacker Denzel Perryman is limited during the Chargers' OTA session Monday as he deals with a minor hamstring issue, per the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Perryman, who will play inside linebacker and on special teams, was the team's second-round pick out of Miami.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman imported from Miami

Denzel Perryman was born in Miami. He was raised in Miami.

He attended Coral Gables Senior High, its campus four minutes from his college alma mater, the University of Miami.

The NFL veterans he speaks to regularly — Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams, Jon Beason, Sean Spence — all were former college linebackers, like him, at Miami. The same goes for his favorite childhood player, Ray Lewis, whose No. 52 he wore in college and will again in San Diego.

San Diego.

The wrench to it all.

He knew next to nothing about the Chargers when they drafted him May 1, surprised they even had his number. But they'd been watching him. At a game last year, General Manager Tom Telesco heard him.

Perryman wants to show San Diego it was right — and Miami, in this case, was wrong.

The 21-year-old seemed destined never to leave South Florida. The Dolphins intimated as much, he said, expressing intent to draft him. But they let a chance pass with the No. 47 overall pick, trading back to the Eagles instead. The Chargers selected him at 48. He's now acclimating to a new town while awaiting a reunion with his old one.

San Diego will host Miami this year.

He knows.

"I can't wait to play the Dolphins," Perryman said. "December 20. I've already got it circled on my schedule. It's the hometown team, and it's one of the teams that passed me up. ... They were talking to me, telling me all this good stuff. We're all grown. You can tell me you're going to take me or not. Don't sugar coat with me. It is what it is.

"But Dec. 20, it's on and popping. Every other week, too."

Perryman must first transition to NFL life in San Diego.

It began later than planned.

Typically, a Chargers draft choice taken in the first three rounds will be flown to San Diego the next morning. Once there, he can shake hands, meet coaches and the front office, and be introduced in a formal press conference that is held in the team meeting room.

First-round pick Melvin Gordon did it this year.

Third-round pick Craig Mager did it.

Perryman, go figure, couldn't get out of Florida. His flight was canceled and other ones were full, so he stayed in Miami a bit longer. He eventually made it to San Diego on May 10 and has been gaining comfort since, inside linebacker Manti Te'o and defensive end Corey Liuget among the teammates taking him under their wing.

"I've been going asleep at like 9 or 10 o'clock over here," Perryman said. "Back home, it's like 12 or 1. I'm just trying to get adjusted to the time change. I hear San Diego is just like Miami. Beautiful but no humidity. I love it."

As general manager, Telesco can't spend as much time on the road as he did early in his scouting career.

But when he can, he makes the time.

The Chargers predominantly play on Sundays, allowing him to scout a Saturday game that is relatively close to where the team is playing. Last year, it played the Dolphins on Nov. 2 in Miami Gardens. The day before, he and JoJo Wooden, team director of player personnel, watched North Carolina at Miami.

The Hurricanes had the game in hand, up 47-13 in the fourth quarter.

The Tar Heels were at the goal line, more than 100 yards from where Telesco was positioned in the press box. That is when he heard, not saw, Perryman smother running back T.J. Logan for no gain. The sound filled Sun Life Stadium.

Telesco asked Wooden if that was No. 52.

It was.

On May 1, teams approached the Chargers to trade down in the second round. They chose to take their thumper instead, born, raised and imported from Miami.

"I just like contact," Perryman said. "I'm one of those aggressive players. ... When I get to the ball, you'll know. Whether you hear it or you see it, I'm getting there with bad intentions."

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman gets 'an adrenaline rush' from big hits

The Chargers got what they wanted when Denzel Perryman slipped to them in the second round of the NFL Draft.

But it'll be a couple months before Perryman gets what he wants -- to slam full-force into an opposing player and bring them down.

"I just get an adrenaline rush out of it," Perryman told ESPN. "I wouldn't say it's a stress reliever, because I can deliver a couple blows during the game. I don't know, I just like contact man. I'm just one of those aggressive players."

So aggressive that the rookie could revive his school's sterling reputation for all-everything inside linebackers. Miami alums like Jon Beason, Ray Lewis, Jonathan Vilma, and D.J. Williams have paved the way for Perryman.

Now, he just wants to do what they did and hit somebody for a living.

"When I get to the ball, you'll know," Perryman said. "Whether you hear it or you see it, I'm getting there with bad intentions. You got to look out for me."

Bookmark and Share

Chargers Sign Denzel Perryman

Chargers signed second-round ILB Denzel Perryman, third-round CB Craig Mager, fifth-round OLB Kyle Emanuel, and sixth-round OLB Darius Philon to four-year contracts.

Perryman, the 48th pick in the draft, projects as a two-down thumper in the NFL who is strong against the run. He should compete with Manti Te'o for the starting job next to Donald Butler right from the jump in San Diego.

Bookmark and Share

Chargers DC Pagano: Perryman is mean and tough

Donald Bulter and Manti Te'o might have a firm grasp on the Chargers' starting inside linebacker jobs.

Then again, they might not.

Defensive coordinator John Pagano heaped praise on the Bolts newest 'backer, second-round pick Denzel Perryman, in an interview with Judson Richards of Xtra 1360 Fox Sports Radio. It's clear that Pagano views the hard-hitting Miami product as a staple in his defense going forward.

“He’s mean,” Pagano said. “He’s tough. He tackles. He’s somebody that’s going to hit you. He’s not just going to try and tackle you. He’s trying to run through you, and that’s something that every defense is looking for. He’s got great instincts, and that makes up for the so-called lack of speed. He plays faster than he’s timed.”
Pagano said Perryman will play right away on special teams. He could crack the starting defense soon, though, if Butler has another so-so season for San Diego.

That fact only adds to his value in Pagano's eyes.

“He can come into the room and push guys, and it’s something as a coach that’s you’re always excited about," Pagano said.

Bookmark and Share

Worth the Wait for Denzel Perryman

Denzel Perryman waited longer than expected to be drafted when the Chargers pounced on the highly regarded inside linebacker with the 48th overall selection.

He was excited to fly to America’s Finest City the next morning for his introductory press conference.  Unfortunately, the airlines cancelled his flight at the last minute. 

Still, whether it meant lasting until the second round or delaying his arrival in San Diego by one week, it’s all proven worth the wait as Perryman believes he’s landed in the ideal situation.

“This still hasn’t sunk in,” he said with a smile early Monday morning while surveying the scene at Chargers Park.  “Even though I have my locker now and all that good stuff, it still hasn’t hit me yet. But this feels good.  It feels right. My flight got cancelled and I was upset about that, but I’m here now and that is all that matters.”

The draft itself was a whirlwind for Perryman, who was regarded as one of the fiercest tacklers available in the draft.  He believes he’s a perfect fit for Defensive Coordinator John Pagano’s scheme, and was humbled by the immediate outpouring of support from his newest teammates.

 “It’s crazy how quickly they’ve (embraced me),” he said.  “Manti (Te’o) texted me right after I got drafted and said congratulations.  He told me if there was anything I ever needed to just let him know.  Corey Liuget has the same agent as me, so he texted me as well.  He told me the same thing how if I ever needed anything to let him know. Donald Butler tweeted at me and I tweeted him back, and so on.  So it’s really nice to know these guys are pretty much going to take me in as a little brother.  I can’t wait to get to work with them. It’s going to be great.  I get to play alongside a bunch of good guys.  It will be important to soak up knowledge from them and be a part of this (core) going forward.”

Perryman is also thankful for the strong fan response as well.

“It’s been all love.  A lot of love.  A lot of these fans have reached out to me, tweeted me and followed me.  Even things like picture edits they create, it’s got me amped up.  I’m excited to get rolling.”

Along with most of the rookie class, Perryman’s NFL career is now officially underway.  He’ll spend this week getting acclimated to the Chargers’ program and culminating with the highly anticipated rookie minicamp this weekend.

“I can’t wait to learn the NFL practice experience.  I want to start getting to know this playbook.  I’m looking forward to learning from these coaches. I’m looking forward to finding my way around.”

Bookmark and Share

Bengals recently hosted Denzel Perryman

With the 2015 NFL Draft nearing, the Bengals have done little to improve their linebacking corps this offseason.

It's even arguable that linebacker is the Bengals' biggest weakness right now, assuming Vontaze Burfict misses some of the 2015 season or doesn't start the season in his pre-injury form, after microfracture surgery.

A.J. Hawk was signed after being cut by the Packers, but at this point in his career, he's better suited as a backup who only sees 10-20 snaps per game. Even with the signing of Hawk and re-signing of Rey Maualuga, it's safe to think the Bengals will look to add a linebacker in this year's draft.

That's where Miami middle linebacker Denzel Perryman could come in. Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel reports that Perryman recently visited the Bengals. The 5'11" 236-pounder is one of the top ILB prospects this year after racking up 218 total tackles over his past two seasons in Coral Gables.

Perryman's visit with the team may have occurred around the same time Cincinnati hosted TCU linebacker Paul Dawson. Even though Perryman and Dawson have been touted as possible first-round picks, neither is projected to go in the first round by CBS Sports' four-man mock draft crew.

In fact, Perryman is ranked the 85th-overall player and a third-round prospect by CBS, so it's possible Cincinnati could grab him with their first third-rounder (ironically, the 85th overall selection).

Bookmark and Share

Calais Campbell compares Denzel Perryman to Ray Lewis

If you ask Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell what player he likes coming out of the 2015 NFL Draft class, he doesn't give you an answer right away. On the latest "Big Red Rage" podcast, on which Campbell regularly appears, Campbell was asked that question. At first, he hesitated, but then gave the name of a player from his alma mater who could also fill a need the Cardinals have.

He likes Miami inside linebacker Denzel Perryman. The Cardinals could be looking to add a player at inside linebacker. Daryl Washington's future with the team and the league this season is still unknown. 2013 second round pick Kevin Minter has yet to step up and become the player the team has hoped he would.
The team did sign Sean Weatherspoon to a one-year contract out of Atlanta, but another at the position could be in play with the draft.

Perryman could potentially be that guy.

"My man Perryman from Miami, I think he's going to be a stud," Campbell said. "He has a lot of the same issues that Ray Lewis had coming out. He's too small. I don't think that really matters in the NFL these days if you can play sideline to sideline."

Yes, Campbell did just compare Perryman to the future Hall of Famer, but it was only in the context that both had a knock coming out of college as being too slight play inside linebacker in the NFL. He is 5-11 and 236 pounds. He ran a 4.7-second 40 at his Pro Day.

He has not been projected to be a first rounder in quite a while, although he has been mocked to the Cardinals before. Would he be a good fit in Arizona, and could be be the stud Campbell thinks he will be? Or is this just another case of a player being a bit of a homer because the player comes from school he attended?

Bookmark and Share

Latest proCane Draft Buzz

It’s likely that Ereck Flowers will be the first Hurricanes player chosen in the NFL draft, which begins April 30.

It’s clear the Carolina Panthers, who own the 25th pick, really, really like him.

Flowers, the 6-foot-6, 324-pound offensive tackle who left UM after his junior season, fills an immediate need for the Panthers on the right side and could eventually move to the left side. He interviewed with Carolina at the NFL combine, visited the team and worked out for top brass. The team also sent several representatives to watch him at the Hurricanes’ April 1 pro day. The Charlotte Observer even flew their beat writer to do a profile on him (though as usual, Flowers didn’t talk).

If he’s available when Carolina picks, he’ll probably join Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin. But several analysts think he might not be.

In the slew of mock drafts we found online, Flowers is slotted as high as No. 9 overall.’s Peter Schrager has him going at that spot, to the New York Giants.

Click here to read what Schrager, who has no other Hurricanes in his two-round mock, wrote about Flowers as well as the rest of the proCane potential draft picks by Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post!

Bookmark and Share

Houston Texans Interested In Denzel Perryman?

According to Matt Hammond of Sports Radio 610, the Texans may have interest in drafting former Miami Hurricane linebacker Denzel Perryman.

Perryman was speaking with Sports Radio 610’s Triple Threat hosts when he made the statement that the Texans were “really interested in me” this past Wednesday.

Could there possibly be a match between the two parties?


The Texans are in the market for linebacker help, especially on the inside considering Brian Cushing‘s injury history. And there is even added uncertainty in the long-term with the other inside linebackers on the roster.

Honestly, the team’s inside linebacker core needs to become younger and more physical.

But what could Perryman bring that to the Texans defense?

Perryman, coming in at 5’11” and 236 pounds, has developed a reputation of being a hard hitter, and will take on offensive lineman in the second level.

From an analysis from Derek Stephens and Rob Rang of

Lacks desirable height but has the look of a prototypical inside ‘backer with a stout, thick frame. Instinctive and tough. Showed improved closing speed and explosiveness as a tackler in 2014. Strong, active hands, agile feet and good use of leverage free him from blocks.

Tough, instinctive, and strong?

Sounds like Perryman is the type of linebacker the Texans need to add to bolster their defense, especially in certain run defense packages. He could be someone who challenges any running back who may break through the line, which is a trait that the team needs more of.

The Texans defense was ranked 10th against the run last season, but there is always room for improvement, right?

2014 statistics: 13 games, 79 tackles, 31 assists, 9.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception

And his statistics seem to indicate that he is very active when on the field, and is not afraid to make tackles. He could also be a disruptive force on the second level in the NFL.

Perryman would be a nice compliment to Cushing’s style of play, especially if the veteran Texan continues to return to his pre-injury form throughout the 2015 season.

But what are the former Hurricane’s shortcomings on the field?

Per a report from Lance Zierlein of SportsTalk 790:

Lacks coverage traits and is a liability in man coverage. Short levers won’t allow him to leverage blockers as a pass rusher. Slow to get off his spot and burst laterally, which causes him to miss some tackle opportunities.

If the Texans draft Perryman then it’s clear he wouldn’t assist much in against the pass, especially in man coverage which is concerning. He would then be limited to a run defender in defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel’s system.

To overcome these potential shortcomings he will also need to possess or further develop the football instincts necessary for the NFL.  He would need to know where to position himself on the field at all times to counter some of the previously mentioned concerns.

Regardless, the Texans do need to add quality depth at inside linebacker and it seems that they have interest in the former Miami Hurricane.

But he has been projected to be taken in the late first or early second round in the NFL draft. So general manager Rick Smith may need to trade up from the 51st pick to the early second or late first round to be in the position to draft the young linebacker.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman worked out for New England Patriots

Miami's Denzel Perryman, who might be the hardest-hitting linebacker in the draft, had a private workout with the New England Patriots.

NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport reported the news.

At 5-foot-11, 239 pounds, Perryman lacks height and might only be a two-down linebacker in the NFL because he has struggled in pass coverage. But he is a thumper who is excellent against the run and has a physical and aggressive playing style.

The Patriots wouldn't seem to need an inside linebacker, but Perryman could appeal to Pats coaches because of his physicality and approach to the game. Perryman seems a reach at No. 32, which is where the Pats pick in the first round, but he would be an excellent value were he still available when the Patriots pick in the second round at 64th overall.

Like former NFL linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Perryman is an alum of Coral Gables High and Miami. Vilma also heard whispers about his height. At Miami's pro day last week, Vilma was in attendance and said he is a Perryman fan: "He is a tremendous tackler. And there's a violence when he plays."

At the pro day, Perryman said he had visits scheduled with the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and Miami Dolphins.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman doesn't test well, but is Rd. 2 pick

Miami ILB Denzel Perryman is "worth a second-round pick for his excellent tackling ability, instincts and recognition skills, and leadership ability," believes ESPN's Todd McShay.

"I get that Perryman isn't an elite athlete, but I've really liked what I've seen from Perryman on tape, and he is the second-highest-ranked inside linebacker on our board right now (UCLA's Eric Kendricks is No. 1)," McShay wrote. "He helped himself by improving upon his 40 time from the combine, running a 4.66-second 40 after posting a 4.78 at the combine, because speed is definitely a concern with him, but he tweaked his hamstring and wasn't able to complete his workout." The 5-foot-10, 236-pound Perryman finished his collegiate career with two straight seasons with 108 or more tackles. NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein likens Perryman to D'Qwell Jackson.

Bookmark and Share

proCane Pro Day Recap

In front of reps from all 32 NFL teams, the unquestioned star was receiver Phillip Dorsett. He blazed his way to an unofficial 4.25-second 40-yard dash after running an already-excellent 4.33 at the NFL combine in February. He could have settled on that time and simply performed pass-catching drills for NFL scouts, but Dorsett wanted to put on a show.

“It was just me and my competitive spirit just coming out here and doing everything,” Dorsett said. “Because I know everybody wants to see it. Everybody likes to see a guy go out and compete and do everything.”

Dorsett, who measured in at 5-foot-10 and 184 pounds, said he improved his vertical to 38 inches (he leaped 37 at the combine) and bench-pressed 225 pounds 13 times (he did not lift at the combine).

For me, the star of the day was Phillip Dorsett,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “A kid who didn’t have to do anything because he performed so well at the combine. What did he do today? Comes out runs a 4.25, 4.26, jumps 38 inches, 10-9 broad [jump], and then looked fantastic catching the football and getting in and out of breaks. I thought Phillip Dorsett had an outstanding day.”

Dorsett will work out for the Dolphins, Panthers and Falcons. What if the hometown chose him?

“Being a Hurricane and I always was a fan of the Dolphins, too,” said Dorsett, from Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas. “It would be great. It would be a dream come true,” he said.

* Linebacker Denzel Perryman suffered a pulled right hamstring and scratched on his second attempt at running the 40-yard dash. UM did not release official testing results to the media, but according to a group of scouts that got together and compared times, Perryman’s first heat in the 40 was a 4.67 — better than the 4.78 he ran in Indianapolis.

He did not perform in the shuttle, 3-cone and positional drills. He said not being able to finish was “real disappointing, but I think a lot of teams just wanted to see what I could run. I feel I accomplished that today. I answered a lot of questions.”

He said he measured in at 5-11 and 239 pounds and put up 30 reps of 225 pounds. He increased his vertical from 32 (combine) to 33 inches.

Perryman watched film with the Lions hours before pro day began and has three NFL team visits lined up: he will meet with the Dolphins next Thursday, the Falcons on April 12 and the Panthers on April 16. Along with Clive Walford and Dorsett, he ate dinner with Saints brass Tuesday night at Fleming’s Steakhouse in Coral Gables. Perryman said he ate shrimp and scallops (Rob Ryan had a steak, if you were wondering).

* Running back Duke Johnson ran a 4.47 twice, which was a much better result than his combine time (4.54). He also “caught the ball naturally,” according to Mayock.

Why run the 40 again? “I wanted to do it for myself, because I know I can do better, and I know I train too hard to run what I ran at the combine,” he said, adding that his “game speed speaks for itself. … If you run 4.2, 4.3 but you don’t play it, it really doesn’t make a difference.”

Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey agreed.

“When we watch guys play with helmets and shoulder pads, those are the important things,” he said. “Those guys that play fast and also run fast, that’s great. The importance is the speed they play at.” The 40 time is “a measurement — you always judge it against how they play.”

Johnson, who measured in at 5-9 and 203 pounds, said he did 18 reps of 225. He did not lift at the NFL combine.

Tight end Clive Walford did not run because he suffered a hamstring pull last week. Walford (6-4, 250) said he would meet with the Steelers after pro day and the Falcons and Packers in the coming days. He said he has talked to a laundry list of teams, including the Dolphins, Saints, Falcons, Packers, Broncos, Chargers, 49ers, Ravens, Chiefs and Buccaneers.

Walford, a Glades Central grad and South Bay native, on the hometown team: “I talked to them. I wouldn’t say a lot, but I saw that move that they made this offseason. Shout-out to the Dolphins.” He’s talking, of course, about the Fins adding Ndamukong Suh.

Is UM’s tight end tradition helping his draft stock? “We produce great tight ends,” he said. “Look at the history. We’ve got great ones to come. I feel I kept up that legacy. Hopefully the young ones do as well.

* Offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, a projected first-rounder, did not perform lifting drills – he was the top overall bench-presser at the NFL combine, with 37 reps of 225 – but did everything else. Flowers did not speak to the media (he rarely does).

Mayock was very high on Flowers, Jon Feliciano and Shane McDermott‘s performances.

“I counted eight to 10 offensive line coaches, obviously here to see mostly Ereck Flowers, who I think is going to be a first-round draft pick,” he said. “But Feliciano could get drafted. Shane McDermott could get drafted. I thought it was a great day for that whole group of players.”

* Defensive end Anthony Chickillo, who looked even lighter than he did at the combine (when he measured 6-3, 267), looked like a much more explosive player than he was as a 280-pound strong-side defensive end at UM. “Very twitchy” was Walford’s assessment. “Quick. Fast.”

* Quarterbacks Ryan Williams and Jake Heaps threw a variety of routes for scouts. Williams said he checked in at 6-4 and change and 215 pounds, and ran a 4.84 in the 40. Before tearing his ACL last April 4 – 362 days ago – he said he ran in the 5-second range. He definitely looked a lot faster than before. He has several meetings scheduled, but has not worked out with an NFL team.

“I’m always positive,” Williams said. “Regardless if I get drafted or not I’m still going to get a chance somewhere so I’m not really worried about the draft.”

* Cornerback Ladarius Gunter ran a solid 4.56 time in the 40 and looked very rangy in coverage drills.  He’s projected as a mid-round pick.

* Linebacker Thurston Armbrister showed good speed and agility, though he struggled to catch interceptions in drills. Would bet he gets a shot somewhere.

* Defensive tackle Olsen Pierre ran a 5.15 in the 40.

* If you saw my Twitter feed, you’ll get a roll of NFL personnel I spotted, but among the notables were a large contingent of Dolphins personnel (GM Dennis Hickey, VP Mike Tannenbaum, head coach Joe Philbin, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, running backs coach Jeff Nixon, special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi), Jets head coach Todd Bowles, Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. NFL Network said seven GMs attended, including Hickey. The others: Mickey Loomis (Saints), Mike Maccagnan (Jets), Kevin Colbert (Steelers), Doug Whaley (Bills), Steve Keim (Arizona), Ruston Webster (Tennessee) and Floyd Reese (Giants). Former Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, now a college scout with New Orleans, was also there.

* Former Hurricanes who attended included Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, Edgerrin James, Demarcus Van Dyke, Jacory Harris, Lamar Miller and Tommy Streeter. A slew of players from the 2012 and 2013 teams were there. Jonathan Vilma was also in attendance, working for NBC Sports along with former Dolphins great Jason Taylor. NFL Network had a five-person crew and analyst Mike Mayock interviewed several UM players and coach Al Golden, who did not speak to other media.

* Former Hurricanes running back Damien Berry, a Glades Central grad who won a Super Bowl with Baltimore in 2012, was the oldest of several pre-2014 Hurricanes who worked out (linebacker Tyrone Cornelius and defensive end Shayon Green, both from the 2013 team, also performed).  “I’m still young, 26 years old. I think it’s time to give it another shot,” said Berry, who last played for UM in 2010 and now lives in Boca Raton. Berry, 5-11 and 230 pounds, he said he ran a 4.7 in the 40.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman Has Several Visits Planned

Speaking of Perryman, he tweaked his hamstring during his first 40-yard dash and sat out the rest of the day. He said he has upcoming visits with the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers. Perryman measured 5-11 and 239 pounds Wednesday, and he is fond of saying that while he might be short, he is not small.

Perryman spent part of the day Wednesday talking with former NFL star linebacker Jonathan Vilma. Like Perryman, Vilma is an alum of Coral Gables High and UM, and also was criticized by some for his lack of size. Vilma was listed at 6-1 during his playing days and said his weight usually was in the mid-230s. He said he is a Perryman fan: "He is a tremendous tackler. And there's a violence when he plays." As for Perryman's perceived lack of height, Vilma shrugged it off and praised his instincts. Vilma said football instincts are "undervalued because it's not a measurable." Vilma also said he shrugged off his own supposed lack of height, saying his mantra when he played was, "I may be small but I play big."

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman, Clive Walford happy with pro days despite ailments

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Scouts, coaches and general managers representing all 32 teams were in attendance for the University of Miami's pro day on Wednesday. However, two of the big names people came to see -- linebacker Denzel Perryman and tight end Clive Walford -- were limited for different reasons.

Perryman suffered a leg injury during his second 40-yard dash attempt and that knocked him out of the remainder of drills. Walford did only receiving drills after suffering a recent hamstring injury.

However, both players did well in their limited time. Walford caught the football well and showed a glimpse of why some scouts think he's the top tight end in the draft. Perryman improved on his 40 time from the NFL combine. The linebacker said he ran an official 4.56 on his first attempt before the injury and did 30 reps of 225 pounds.

"Yeah, it's real disappointing," Perryman said of the injury. "But a lot of people just wanted to see what I can run, and I feel I accomplished that today and answered a lot of questions."

Walford said he thought about running the 40-yard dash despite not being 100 percent because of all the NFL representation on campus today. But he ultimately decided against it and caught passes.

Walford is confident he will do well at the next level.

"We produce great tight ends," Walford said of the Hurricanes. "And we got great ones to come."

Both Perryman and Walford are projected to be second-round picks with the potential to climb to the bottom of the first round with good workouts and interviews. The Miami Dolphins have shown interest in both players. According to Perryman, the Dolphins will have a meeting and workout with him April 9-10. Walford also said he's meeting the Dolphins before the draft.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman is a high-floor, low-ceiling player

Miami ILB Denzel Perryman "can be a highly productive NFL player but [his] ceiling looks to be limited," observed NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein.

The analyst ranks Perryman No. 6 amongst linebackers. "Early-down linebacker who can make plays against the run but will struggle if isolated in coverage," Zierlein wrote. "Perryman is a lunch-pail worker who enjoys the physical part of the game." For those reasons, Zierlein likens Perryman to D'Qwell Jackson. "I have a little higher grade on Perryman than I probably should, but we like thumpers and badasses inside and he's both," said an AFC director of scouting.

Bookmark and Share

proCane Pro Day On Wednesday, Who to Watch

Who to watch: Offensive tackle Ereck Flowers will headline a talented group of Miami players on Wednesday in Coral Gables. Flowers recorded 37 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine, the most of any player, and is projected to be a first-round pick. Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett was expected to be in the running for the fastest 40-yard dash time at the combine, but he finished in third with a 4.33. Dorsett has been clocked as fast as 4.18.

Also keep an eye on: RB Duke Johnson, TE Clive Walford, LB Denzel Perryman, DE Anthony Chickillo, CB Ladarius Gunter and G Jon Feliciano.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman was a star from Day 1 at Miami

Miami ILB Denzel Perryman "was a playmaker from the first day he suited up until he ended his career last season as on coaches' first-team All-ACC," observed's Frank Cooney.

The analyst mentions that Perryman was highly productive both as a starter on the inside and outside while in school. Cooney then poked holes in comparisons made to Wisconsin's Chris Borland. "Perryman is not really a frenetic, hyperactive tackling machine like Borland," Cooney wrote. "Perryman is more of a deliberate, focused defensive quarterback who reads plays well and uses a combination of quickness and good angles to get in on plays and is an efficient open-field tackler." At the combine, Perryman was asked what scouts liked about him. He responded: "They like how I go downhill, they like how I take on blocks. Some scouts like to see my man-to-man coverage, my technique on that i just need to brush that up. As far as my pass coverage, some of them were impressed at the Senior Bowl."

Bookmark and Share

Clinton Portis: Denzel Perryman can fill Patrick Willis' void on 49ers

Denzel Perryman's shoe size probably isn't much more impressive than his height (5-foot-11), but the way two-time Pro Bowl running back Clinton Portis sees it, Perryman could be filling some awfully big shoes as an NFL rookie.

Those of Patrick Willis.

"If you put him in the right scheme he will be excellent," Portis told "I can see the 49ers taking a long look at him with Patrick Willis retiring. Picking up a linebacker who comes with his attitude would really help them."

Willis retired last week at age 30 after a prolific but abbreviated eight-year career. Perryman was the soul of the Hurricanes' defense last year and is their top defensive draft prospect amid a cast of offensive prospects that includes running back Duke Johnson, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, tackle Ereck Flowers and tight end Clive Walford.

But while Perryman might be a good fit for the 49ers, the draft order suggests he might not fit any of the club's draft choices. Perryman is regarded as a late-first or early second-round prospect. Two of five NFL Media analysts project him as a late first-round pick, and Portis sees him as a late-first or early second-rounder as well. The trouble is, San Francisco picks at No. 15 in the first round -- perhaps too rich of a pick for Perryman's draft value -- and by the time the club selects again in the middle of the second round, Perryman could easily be wearing another club's hat.

A trade up or down might be required to facilitate a Perryman-49ers marriage. Regardless, Portis likes Perryman above all the other Miami prospects on the offensive side of the ball. He likened Perryman to former NFL linebackers London Fletcher, Al Wilson and Nate Webster.

"I definitely think he will go at the end of the first or early in the second round," Portis said. "Watching the film of all of the players from Miami, the person who stood out the most was Denzel, because of how he attacked the ball. He sometimes even played off double teams -- a linebacker should never face double teams."
Other thoughts from Portis on Miami's top prospects:

» On Johnson: "I think Duke probably is most talented running back to ever come out of the University of Miami."
That's high praise, given the long list of UM backs to have big NFL careers, including Edgerrin James and Portis himself.

» On Dorsett: "When you look at that Florida State game, Phillip Dorsett still hasn't been covered. They should have never stopped getting him the ball."
Dorsett had four catches for 90 yards and a touchdown in a 30-26 loss to the Seminoles last season. Of note in that game is that FSU's two cornerbacks, P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby, will both get draft-day calls, as well.

» On Walford: "If you look at his ability to get open and catch the ball, he follows well in the UM tradition of Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow and Jimmy Graham. Walford is going to be in that category."

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman to be this year's Chris Borland?

ESPN's Todd McShay wrote that he "love[s] the tape" of Miami ILB Denzel Perryman.

"He's probably going to be this year's Chris Borland as a guy who is a great football player and succeeds in the NFL despite having less-than-ideal measurables," McShay wrote. "But there will be some concern from NFL teams over his below-average scores in the vertical (32 inches) and broad (9-5) jumps." Perryman (5-foot-10 3/4, 236 pounds) ran a 4.78 40-yard dash at the combine, a poor showing. An anonymous NFL scout recently said that Perryman has "got some stiffness to him," and another predicted "second or third round."

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman must show athleticism at pro day

NFL Media analyst Charles Davis wrote that "teams will want to see more athleticism from [Miami ILB Denzel Perryman] at his pro day."

That pro day will go down on April 1. "Perryman is a tremendous player, but the bench press (27) was the only test he showed well in during the combine," Davis wrote. "He's a tough, hard-hitting inside linebacker and looks good on tape. However, his combine numbers aren't going to impress any evaluators as they evaluate the top players at his position." An anonymous NFL scout recently said that Perryman has "got some stiffness to him," and another predicted "second or third round."

Bookmark and Share

Mayock likes Denzel Perryman despite so-so 40 time

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock said after Miami ILB Denzel Perryman's forty run: "I thought he was faster."

Perryman (5-foot-10 3/4, 236 pounds) ran a 4.78 40-yard dash. Mayock added he "still like[d] Perryman" despite the disappointing time. Mayock compares Perryman to Jon Beason. The Hurricane linebacker is an old school, squatty, hit-you-in-the mouth inside 'backer who lacks size and speed. An AFC director of scouting told recently that Perryman is a "thumper" and a "badass."

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman Didn't Quiet His Critics

Two other players who looked much more athletic on tape than they appeared during drills Sunday included Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman, arguably the best traditional Mike 'backer in the draft.

Unlike Phillips (who struggled with inconsistency throughout his Sooners career), Perryman was the picture of reliability for the Hurricanes, leaving the program as a four-year starter with 351 career tackles to his credit. While instinctive, physical and tough, however, Perryman didn't exactly quiet critics of his speed and overall athleticism with a 4.78-second showing in the 40-yard dash. In fact, it may give voice to those who suggest that the 5-11, 236-pounder is just a two-down run-stuffer in the NFL.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman Standing Tall Among Linebackers

INDIANAPOLIS - Denzel Perryman from the University of Miami is considered one of the top inside linebacker prospects in the 2015 draft, and it seems one of the only knocks on his game is his lack of ideal size.

Perryman officially was measured 5 feet 11 at the combine and, as expected, he was asked about his height during his combine press conference. It was the same at the Senior Bowl.

“I find them funny,” Perryman said. “I hear the same questions over and over again, so it doesn’t matter me at all.

“I’ve been pretty much getting knocked for my height since I got to high school, getting recruited,” Perryman said. “My play makes up for my height. I don’t play like I’m 5-11.

Asked to described his style, Perryman delivered a quick, to-the-point answer.

Said Perryman:?ldquo;I’m smart, I’m physical, I’m a downhill, hard-nosed dog.”

Bookmark and Share

Kiper: Denzel Perryman is a first-rounder right now

ESPN's Mel Kiper thinks Miami ILB Denzel Perryman would be a first-rounder if the draft were tomorrow.

Perryman ranks as Kiper's No. 1 middle linebacker. "The more I've watched the tape of Perryman from the 2014 season, the more I like him," Kiper wrote. "He just does so many things well in terms of attacking the line of scrimmage and taking on blocks. Coverage is a question, but I think he lands in Round 1 if the draft is tomorrow. He can help a team now." NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah projects him as the No. 30 pick to the Packers. "Scouts love Perryman's physical, angry playing style -- he's a burly, stout, old-school linebacker who wants to hit the ball carrier," colleague Lance Zierlein recently wrote.

Bookmark and Share

proCane ILB Denzel Perryman compared to Jon Beason

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock compares Miami ILB Denzel Perryman to Jon Beason.

"Perryman is fun to watch on tape," Mayock said. "He flies around. Reminds me of a Jon Beason. Everybody said he was too small. All he does is make plays." An AFC director of scouting told recently that Perryman is a "thumper" and a "badass." The 6-foot, 243-pounder (4.72 forty) may sneak into Round 1 in the spring.

Bookmark and Share

8 Future NFL proCane Headed To Combine

Eight Miami Hurricanes are making the pilgrimage to Indianapolis this week — eight players eyeing future dreams and envisioning the performances of their lives at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine.

“It’s amazing to have seven guys who are my brothers competing with me in one place and representing our school,” said receiver Phillip Dorsett, who hopes to shatter Chris Johnson’s NFL Combine 40-yard-dash record of 4.24 seconds, set in 2007. “I’ve watched the scouting combine every year and always dreamed of being there. Now, I’m ready to perform.’’

Despite UM’s 6-7 record, the Hurricanes had enough talent for their eight standouts — defensive end Anthony Chickillo, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, offensive linemen Jonathan Feliciano and Ereck Flowers, cornerback Ladarius Gunter, running back Duke Johnson, linebacker Denzel Perryman and tight end Clive Walford — to be invited to the Combine most coveted by players and NFL executives alike.

Last year, of the five Hurricanes invited (Seantrel Henderson, Allen Hurns, Brandon Linder, Stephen Morris and Pat O’Donnell), three were drafted. This year’s NFL Draft is April 30-May 2.

“I’m really excited to go up there and show the NFL what I can offer,” said Feliciano, who said he has “slimmed down” from 335 to 325 pounds and has gotten stronger in the process. “I want to run faster and look good for the NFL scouts.”

Feliciano and projected first-round prospect Flowers leave Tuesday for Indy, as athletes by position groups are staggered throughout the week and undergo medical exams, team interviews, psychological testing and an array of performance drills.

Dorsett, a Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas graduate who was projected by analyst Mel Kiper Jr. to be drafted late in the first round, said he will run the 40 on Saturday, with the NFL Network providing live TV coverage.

“I don’t really have a goal,” said the speedster, who posted single-season career highs of 871 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014 and has been timed as low as 4.21 in the 40. He noted that the 4.21 was timed by hand-held stopwatches as opposed to the NFL’s more sophisticated electronic timers — “so, it doesn’t really count. I’m going to run my fastest and whatever happens, happens.’’

Johnson, UM’s all-time rushing leader with 3,519 yards, said his combine goal is “to be myself, have fun and show who I am on and off the field — not only in football but when it comes to interviews.

“We have to enjoy the experience because everybody doesn’t get a chance to do it.’’

Johnson, Dorsett and Perryman have continued training at UM with strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey — and a bevy of other Hurricanes, including former Canes and NFL players such as Andre Johnson, Jimmy Graham, Lamar Miller, Olivier Vernon, Travis Benjamin and Brandon Harris.

“Why work out here? Because I feel really great about myself and Coach Swasey is the reason why,” said Perryman, a first-round projection who lost seven pounds, and now weighs 238. “I’ve been working out with him for four years. My body, my speed, my strength have changed for the better because of him.”

Several other Canes seniors, who weren’t invited to the NFL Combine, will compete on April 1 at UM’s Pro Timing Day. Those include quarterback Ryan Williams, center Shane McDermott, defensive tackle Olsen Pierre and linebacker Thurston Armbrister. But for the chosen eight, the fun begins this week.

“It’s real important,” Perryman said. “You’re on national television. You have all the scouts, head coaches and general managers out there seeing what you can do. But there’s no reason to get nervous.

“Like I said, I feel great about myself.”

Bookmark and Share

Mel Kiper Has 3 Future proCanes Going In The 1st Round

In his latest mock draft released Wednesday, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Phillip Dorsett, the former Hurricanes standout wide receiver, going 31st overall to the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. He is one of three UM players Kiper projects to go in the first round, along with offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (16th overall, Houston Texans) and inside linebacker Denzel Perryman (28th, Denver Broncos).

Kiper’s reasoning for his Dorsett-to-Seattle projection:

Another player who shined in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, Dorsett would offer Seattle something they simply don’t have on the roster right now, which is a player who can consistently create space with quickness in the passing game. The Seahawks are simply far too reliant on Russell Wilson’s ability to extend plays and allow wide receivers time to get open, and Dorsett is a Porsche in terms of acceleration and the ability to start fast and stop quickly. He also can beat you deep if you let him to run in a straight line. Remember that Paul Richardson will be coming off an ACL surgery recovery period as the 2015 season starts, so an already thin wide receiving corps isn’t a given to be better without any additions.

Dorsett, from Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas, led UM with 871 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior and averaged 24.19 yards per catch, the best among non-College Football Playoff FBS teams.

Kiper’s reasoning for his Flowers-to-Texans projection:

Analysis: This is a spot where I can see the Texans going in a few directions, and I like the fit of a cornerback here as well. And while taking a high-upside talent at tackle isn't a flashy pick, I think it fits a pattern of taking the best player available. Flowers has emerged as a potential top-12 pick and a challenge to some of the more well-known tackles available in this draft -- and depending on free agency, it's a possibility the Texans will be looking for a rookie to come in and take over starting duties at right tackle. Flowers plays with an edge, is a coachable kid who could get better quickly, and could become an elite pass protector if he can be better with his hand placement. (As to the cornerback possibility: I'm not sure they go after Peters if Waynes is off the board.)

Kiper’s reasoning for his Perryman-to-Broncos projection:

Analysis: The Broncos were solid along the defensive line last year and made important additions in the secondary before 2014 in the secondary. Perryman could be an immediate help as an inside linebacker, an area where they could use it as a team that remains in "win now" mode, assuming No. 18 is back under center. And even if Peyton Manning isn't back (I assume he will be at this point), it's not like they're looking for a replacement at this point in the draft.

The Hurricanes haven’t produced three first-round picks in a single draft since 2007, when Brandon Meriweather (24th), Jon Beason (25th) and Greg Olsen (31st) were chosen late on opening night.

The last Cane to be selected in the first round was Kenny Phillips (2008). That streak, UM’s longest first-round draft drought since 1960-67, will almost certainly be broken this year.

The Hurricanes had 14 consecutive first-round picks from 1995-2008. UM has had at least one player drafted every year since 1974.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman, Ereck Flowers Pre-Draft Highlights

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman's hits pack a punch at inside linebacker

Green Bay — The back-up quarterback position was not addressed before the 2013 season… and it came back to bite the Green Packers. The inside linebacker position was not addressed before the 2014 season… and that didn’t help, either.

By mid-season, the Packers mashed together a combination that sparked the run defense. Clay Matthews and Sam Barrington took on larger roles and the Packers’ last-ranked run defense finished the regular season strong.

Then, with Matthews out, Marshawn Lynch cut loose in the NFC Championship.

Chances are — whether its free agency or the NFL draft — general manager Ted Thompson won’t be ignoring the inside linebacker position again. Whether it’s a veteran in free agency or a prospect in the draft, the Packers could use more muscle in the middle.

And that’s where Miami (Fla.) inside linebacker Denzel Perryman enters the discussion.

Wearing the No. 52 carries a heavy responsibility in Miami. Both Ray Lewis and Jonathan Vilma cemented legacies in South Florida. Coaches gave Perryman that number and now the 5-foot-11, 244-pounder is considered the No. 1 inside linebacker prospect by many.

“He’s so powerful,” Hurricanes linebackers coach Hurlie Brown said. “He’s so strong in his hips and legs. All of his tackles are real big hits. But he’s so powerful and explosive, you don’t see many people make those plays and bend at the hips like he can.

“He’s extremely strong. And he’s smart. He really understands the defense. He understands the philosophy and how offenses are trying to attack him. He’s pretty much the total package.”

A throwback at middle linebacker, he first brought an attitude. All of his point-blank collisions inspired teammates, Brown said.

He points to two hits specifically — one fourth and 1, one third and 1. Against Cincinnati, on fourth down, Perryman delivered what Brown described as “one of the biggest hits I’ve ever seen."

“It wasn’t one of those hits where you’re coming down as a safety at 10, 12 yards full speed,” Brown said. “He steps right on your toes and the next thing you know, you’re going backwards. He’s just so powerful like that.”

Then, there’s the leap over South Carolina’s offensive line.

Perryman front-flipped over the offensive line, contorting his torso on the way down, grabbed quarterback Dylan Thompson and pulled him back behind the line.
One of those “dream plays,” Brown said, that “you never see.”

“He studied film,” Brown said. “He felt he knew the play was coming. He took a chance, took a shot. The ball was snapped and he jumped over the line and it was perfect timing. Even the way he jumped over the line, his body twisted to where he was able to land facing the back of the quarterback to where he could pull the quarterback back.

“It was one of those freak things it takes a special person to do.”

On an up-and-down Miami team, Perryman had 110 tackles last season — 50 more than anybody else — with 9.5 for loss, two sacks, six pass break-ups and three forced fumbles. Vocally, Perryman was the one usually speaking up in practice and barking on game day.

While that leap over South Carolina was athleticism at its finest, athleticism may be one concern with Perryman. Can he cover? Can he play three downs? For all of the wincing hits into next week, he’ll also need to cover backs and receivers in the NFL. The next level is a game of match-ups with coordinators always isolating 1-on-1 situations.

“We didn’t do a lot of that,” Brown said of linebackers covering. “So obviously, he’s going to have to work on it. But he can do it. When he’s called upon to do it, he’s fast enough and athletic enough to do it.”

He’ll also face questions about his height, the same questions Wisconsin's Chris Borland faced last year. Both are sub-6 feet.

Yet the playing style — triggering decisions quickly vs. the run, setting a tone with big hits — is something that can apply. In 14 games (eight starts), the third-round pick Borland finished with 108 tackles and two interceptions.

Possibly Barrington did enough to warrant an opportunity to start in 2015. Meanwhile, the careers of A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones in Green Bay may have ended in Seattle.

Perryman is one violent option via the draft.

“You’ve got to have a guy in the middle who can control the defense and spark everybody’s play — get everybody lined up, is smart enough, physical enough and athletic enough to make plays,” Brown said. “That’s what he does for us. That’s what he did for us.”

He believes Perryman can do what former 52’s Lewis and Vilma did before him, too.

“Definitely,” he said. “Without a doubt.”

Bookmark and Share

Scouts await Denzel Perryman's testing numbers

NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein believes NFL teams "are going to want to see [Miami ILB Denzel Perryman's] athletic numbers."

"He's not very tall (measured 5-foot-10 5/8 at the Senior Bowl last month) and he played heavier than he should have at Miami (240-plus pounds)," Zierlein wrote. "If his weight is lower and he tests faster, that's going to help his stock." An AFC director of scouting told earlier this week that Perryman is a "thumper" and a "badass." NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah projects him as the No. 30 pick in the first round to the Packers.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman is a 'thumper' and a 'badass'

Miami ILB Denzel Perryman is a "thumper" and a "badass," said an AFC director of scouting.

"I have a little higher grade on Perryman than I probably should, but we like thumpers and badasses inside, and he's both," the scout said. An AFC regional scout added, "He's the type of guy you like having on your team because he brings toughness to practice." Perryman received a third-round projection from the advisory board last winter but elected to return to school, and now NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah projects him as the No. 30 pick in the first round to the Packers. "Scouts love Perryman's physical, angry playing style -- he's a burly, stout, old-school linebacker who wants to hit the ball carrier," wrote colleague Lance Zierlein. "He's more of an early-down linebacker who can make plays against the run but will struggle when isolated in coverage, which limits his ceiling, but he can be a highly productive player in the NFL."

Bookmark and Share

Todd McShay Predicts Two proCanes Drafted in 1st Round, Three In Top 35

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay came out with his first Mock Draft today, and guess which Canes he's projecting to be first rounders?

McShay has linebacker Denzel Perryman going No.24 to the Arizona Cardinals and offensive tackle Ereck Flowers No. 25 to the Carolina Panthers.

McShay also listed his "top five prospects still available,'' which means, basically, No. 33 through 37 in the draft -- the top five spots in the second round.

A Cane was also included in that list, with McShay listing wide receiver Phillip Dorsett as the No. 2 among those five -- or the No. 34 overall draft pick.

Bookmark and Share

Todd McShay ranks Denzel Perryman No. 26 overall prospect

Miami ILB Denzel Perryman made his debut on Todd McShay's Big Board at No. 25.

"Perryman's Senior Bowl week was cut short due to an injury, but he flashed as the best linebacker in attendance when he was out there on the field," McShay wrote. "We've really liked what we've seen on tape of him so far, as he has very good instincts, closing burst and tackling ability." Perryman received a third-round projection from the advisory board last winter but elected to return to school. Good call. The 6-foot, 243-pounder (4.72 forty) may sneak into Round 1 in the spring.

Bookmark and Share

Eight proCanes Invited to NFL Combine

Eight future proCanes received invitations to the NFL Scouting Combine, the Post learned.

Among them are six seniors – defensive end Anthony Chickillo, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, offensive lineman Jon Feliciano, cornerback Ladarius Gunter, linebacker Denzel Perryman and tight end Clive Walford of Glades Central High – and two underclassmen who declared for the NFL draft.

Running back Duke Johnson and offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, both juniors, will be in Indianapolis from Feb. 17-23.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman Moves Into First Round?

MOBILE, Ala. -- So how many first-round picks were on display at the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., Saturday?

NFL Media analysts provided a list of eight with that kind of potential: Washington DL Danny Shelton, LSU OL La'el Collins, Pittsburgh OL T.J. Clemmings, Iowa DL Carl Davis, Miami LB Denzel Perryman, Miami WR Phillip Dorsett, Utah DE Nate Orchard and Auburn WR Sammie Coates. But one, in particular, will need to solidify that status with a strong 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next month.

"Perryman, I think is a first-round inside linebacker if he runs well at the combine," NFL Media's Mike Mayock said.

Perryman returned to action for the final practice on Thursday after missing some practice time with an abdominal injury earlier in the week, but did not play Saturday.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman impressed at Senior Bowl practices

Scout's Inc. reports that Miami senior LB Denzel Perryman was a standout at Senior Bowl practices.

"He diagnosed plays quickly against the run in the nine-on-seven period and showed good awareness in zone coverage in the seven-on-seven period," wrote Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl. "He showed explosive closing power both as a tackler and in taking on blocks, and displayed good range. We like what we've seen from him on tape, as well. He has spent some time in our top 32 this season." He has drawn comparisons to former Badger Chris Borland -- drafted in the third round by the Dolphins -- though's Daniel Jeremiah believes Perryman will be drafted higher than Borland was. Perryman boasts a stocky 6-foot, 243-pound frame, and he runs a 4.72 forty.

Bookmark and Share

Atlanta Falcons Potential Draft Pick Profile: LB Denzel Perryman

When Sean Weatherspoon went down with an injury in 2014, the Atlanta Falcons' defensive trajectory followed it. Whether or not Weatherspoon comes back should not stop the Falcons from adding another linebacker to a corps that needs some additional talent.

One of the best linebackers in this year's draft is Denzel Perryman out of the University of Miami. He's played both weak-side linebacker and middle linebacker for the Hurricanes and projects well as an inside linebacker in the 3-4 or either a middle or weak-side linebacker in the 4-3.

Denzel Perryman
University of Miami

Senior Bowl Measurements (Obtained firsthand)
Height: 5'10-5/8" Weight: 242 pounds
Arm Length: 31-1/4" Hand Measurement: 9-3/4"

2014: 13 Games Played, 110 Tackles, 9.5 Tackles for Loss, 2.0 Sacks, 1 Interception, 3 Fumbles Forced, 5 Pass Deflections
2013: 13 Games Played, 108 Tackles, 5.0 Tackles for Loss, 1.5 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 1 Fumble Forced, 3 Pass Deflections
2012: 9 Games Played, 64 Tackles, 6.0 Tackles for Loss, 2 QB Hurries, 1 Interception, 1 Fumble Forced, 2 Pass Deflections, 1 Defensive Touchdown
2011: 12 Games Played, 68 Tackles, 6.5 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sack, 1 QB Hurry, 2 Fumbles Forced

Scouting Report

Denzel Perryman is an all-around talent at linebacker. He's competent as a blitzer, but he truly excels as a run defender. He can stack and shed with the best of them despite being one of the smaller linebackers in the draft this season. He's also got very good weight for the position despite being short.

He's an athletic talent and can play in coverage. He's not the ideal coverage linebacker because he's not going to man up with a tight end or a running back, but in a zone-heavy scheme, he would be an ideal defender to match up and then pass along a player.

Despite being a very well-rounded talent, Perryman's pass rushing doesn't inspire confidence as someone who should be attacking the quarterback on more than just 10-15 percent of passing downs. His strength in coverage more than makes up for that, though.

Another thing that hurts Perryman is that despite being a very quick player and solid athlete, he's lacking in raw straight line speed. He's also very undersized for a linebacker, as he isn't even 5'11". Height isn't a huge issue for some, but he has to have the speed and athleticism to make up for it.

How does he fit the Comrade Filter?
Not only does Denzel Perryman keep his nose clean off the field, he's a captain on it. The Falcons love having players who not only know how to follow, but also those that know how to lead. He's someone who would fit in very well within a locker room that is about hard work and winning games.“You’re going to get a guy who’s going to give it 110% every play." - Denzel Perryman

The Falcons are trying to build that locker room for both now and in the future. With Perryman and Worrilow at the middle tier of the defense, Atlanta would have a pair of guys who are not only leaders by example but vocal leaders who will try to motivate the team if Weatherspoon isn't back.


Perryman is one of the best all-around linebackers in this year's draft. He's good at everything and great against the run. His only questions come from his lack of size and length. The best fit for him would be a role similar to what Weatherspoon played in 2011.

Perryman could be the linebacker that Atlanta needed during the 2014 season that would have been the ideal fit next to Worrilow. In a scheme where Perryman has big guys taking up most of the blocks in front of him, he could be an even bigger asset than he looks.

How he would fit into the Falcons' plans
The Falcons would likely have to take Perryman with either their second or third-round picks. He would be more than worth it, though, as he's a perfect scheme fit for potential new head coach Dan Quinn's defense. Fox Sports NFL Insider Jay Glazer noted he is expected to be named the new coach. Perryman can play either weak side or middle and would fit best as the weak-side linebacker.

He could be used best as a coverage linebacker in nickel packages when the Falcons move to those as well. Essentially, Perryman as a selection would be because the Falcons don't feel that Weatherspoon can stay healthy for an entire season and want to replace him long term.

Bookmark and Share

Miami Hurricanes are thriving at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. -- It was no secret in South Florida that the Miami Hurricanes had talented football players.

Despite their 6-7 record, those who follow the program knew there were many high-caliber athletes on the team. Yet, something wasn’t right with the team, whether it was inconsistent coaching or overall team chemistry.

This week at the Senior Bowl, the Hurricanes' talent is shining through. Hurricanes receiver Phillip Dorsett, tight end Clive Walford, linebacker Denzel Perryman and cornerback Ladarius Gunter all had their "wow" moments in practices this week and are generating a buzz at the Senior Bowl.

Perryman and Gunter made plays defensively for the South team on Tuesday, while Dorsett and Walford were the stars of Wednesday’s practice with big receptions. After a disappointing year at Miami, the four are doing all they can to improve their draft stock.

So how do you explain Miami’s losing record in 2014? The program continues to have solid recruiting classes but is far removed from its glory days when the Hurricanes competed for and won national championships. Things bottomed out last season as Miami finished under .500 for the first time since 2007.

“A lot of things didn’t go our way last year. I can say that,” Dorsett said. “A lot of things went the wrong way. We just got to get guys to really buy in. It’s not on the coaches, it’s on the players. Coaches coach and players got to go out there and play. That’s all I can really say about it.”

Perryman, a team captain at the University of Miami, had the same sentiments.

“For me, I feel like just a lot of miscommunication and not executing the game plan,” Perryman said. “That’s where I feel we fell short, both on offense and defense.”

Multiple teams, including the Dolphins, have interviewed Hurricanes players this week to get to know them better. The Dolphins have specifically interviewed Dorsett and Perryman at the Senior Bowl. That’s not a surprise considering their need for a speedy receiver and a take-charge linebacker.

Overall, the Hurricanes are fitting in well with some of the college talent from around the country -- both on and off the field.

“[It's] pretty cool,” Walford said of Senior Bowl week. “Ifeel like I’m at home. Idon’t feel like I’m in Alabama at all.”

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman Rapidly Increasing His Draft Stock

Denzel Perryman is a personal favorite of mine in this class, so it's refreshing to hear that he's making an impression on scouts at Senior Bowl workouts. The Miami star has to battle the stigma of not being a prototypical inside linebacker due to his 5'11", 244-pound frame. 

However, it's hard to overlook the simple fact that Perryman is an outstanding football player. You can look at all the measurements you want, but at some point the simple question has to be, can the guy play in the NFL?

Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated offered some insights into what Perryman was doing during the practice sessions in Mobile, with a little help from scouts in attendance:

His coverage can be a little spotty -- the Jaguars' coaches, in charge of the South team this week, chatted him up after a couple of plays where he was late getting to his man. 

But there were no such concerns against the run. Midway through the South practice, the crowd in attendance let out a collective cheer, leading to this exchange between two scouts in front of me:

"What happened? I missed it."

"Perryman blew somebody up. Probably happens a lot."

An easy trope that even the most advanced scouts fall into is simply comparing two players who have the same body type, whether their actual talents match up or not. In Perryman's case, though, it's not out of line to say that he can be this year's version of Chris Borland. 

The 49ers got Borland in the third round last year, primarily because teams were concerned about how he would perform in the NFL at 5'11" and 247 pounds. He proceeded to record 107 total tackles despite not starting until after Patrick Willis got hurt in Week 6. 

Perryman has a nose for the football and more strength than you realize, like Borland, and he should benefit because of the success San Francisco's latest star linebacker had in 2014. He may not be a first-round pick, but a team should jump at the opportunity to grab him early in Day 2. 

Bookmark and Share

Hurricane watch during Senior Bowl South practice

The Miami football program has been mediocre in recent years, but the Hurricanes continue to pump out NFL talent, including tight end Clive Walford, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, cornerback Ladarius Gunter and middle linebacker Denzel Perryman on the South squad at the Senior Bowl. And during Wednesday's practice, that talent shined bright.

A prospect who stole the show during South practice, Walford routinely drew praise from the Jaguars coaching staff for his routes, athleticism and ability to finish at the catch point. He has an easy release off the line of scrimmage with the route acceleration to threaten the seam and be a downfield target. Walford doesn't have an elite frame for the position, but he knows how to use his size to shield defenders from the ball and create mismatches down the field. Walford entered the week in contention to be the No. 1 senior tight end drafted and he's only helped his chances of that happening through two practices in Mobile.

He has looked “as advertised” from his Miami game film.

The favorite to run the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine next month, Dorsett has “blur” speed to make defensive backs look silly. He has shown that sudden footwork at the line of scrimmage to beat press and the instant acceleration to win vertically downfield. Dorsett routinely won 1-on-1 drills against the South defensive backs, including his former teammate Gunter.

However, there is such a thing as playing too fast and Dorsett will do that at times, losing footing or getting wild in his breaks. Nonetheless, he has the game-changing speed to not only make an impact on offense, but also as a return man once he adds seasoning and polish to his game.

Gunter is one of the bigger corners in Mobile this week at 6-1 and 200 pounds with 32-inch arms, but he's shown the foot quickness that match much smaller players, moving very well for his size. He uses his length to contest any pass in his area code, blanketing receivers and impressing with his cover skills. Like most bigger cornerbacks, Gunter does need some refinement with his transitional technique, but overall, he has showed scouts more positives than negatives this week.
Unfortunately Perryman had to pull out of the Senior Bowl after a strained abdomen muscle on Wednesday. But his performance on Tuesday was enough to create a little buzz in the bleachers among scouts.

Miami finished with a 6-7 record in 2014, but after Anthony Chickillo, Jon Feliciano and Shane McDermott played well at the East-West Shrine Game last week and these four Hurricanes in Mobile, its clear there was more talent in Coral Gables than the record gives them credit. And that doesn't include Miami's top two prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft class – underclassmen running back Duke Johnson and offensive tackle Ereck Flowers.

Bookmark and Share

Heavy-hitting Denzel Perryman is a possible Bucs pick

MOBILE, Ala. — The two things Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman hears about from critics are his lack of height and his pass coverage skills.

He's not getting any taller, but the draft prospect — 5 feet, 10.5 inches, officially — is eager to show he can drop back in coverage this week at the Senior Bowl. If the Bucs go in a new direction at middle linebacker, Perryman could be there when they pick in the second round at No. 34 overall.

"One thing I get knocked on a lot is my pass coverage," said Perryman, a heavy hitter who started 37 games with the Hurricanes, topping 100 tackles in each of the last two years. "This week I'm going to make sure I can display my ability in that and just get better."

Perryman had only two interceptions at Miami, but said just because the defense didn't call for him to drop back and cover the middle of the field — as middle linebackers often do in Bucs coach Lovie Smith's defense — doesn't mean he can't do it.

As for his height, Perryman said it's a motivation. He saw Wisconsin's Chris Borland shine as a 5-11 rookie this fall, getting 107 tackles for the 49ers.

"I get knocked for my height, but I play big. That's one of my chips on my shoulder," he said. "I've been getting knocked for my height since I was in high school. Every day, I play with a chip on my shoulder."

Derrick Brooks was listed at 6-0 in his Hall of Fame career, and a certain Bucs linebacker that Perryman admires is listed at 6-1.

"Lavonte David, he's not all that tall," Perryman says with a respectful smile.

Perryman was held out of Wednesday's second practice of the week with an abdominal injury, but is expected back today. Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, whose staff is coaching the South team, said Perryman has made a strong impression.

"He stands out, just in his ability to pick things up. You can sense his leadership, right when he steps on the field," said Bradley, who got his start in the NFL as the Bucs' linebackers coach from 2006-08. "He's got a presence about him."

Perryman wants to show he can be a three-down linebacker in the NFL, capable of staying on the field when defenses shift to nickel defenses with only two linebackers on the field and a high chance of a pass play. He worked closely with the Jaguars and was scheduled for interviews with the Bucs and Dolphins, and he likes the thought of staying home in Florida — he's from Coral Gables.

"I would love it, just to stay in Florida, period, but I don't choose where I go," he said. "Wherever I go, I'm going to be the best player I can be."

Bookmark and Share

Are Dolphins, LB Denzel Perryman a match?

MOBILE, Ala. -- There was a four-play sequence Tuesday during Senior Bowl practice where University of Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman appeared to be the best player on the field.

On the first play, Perryman attacked downhill and made a good read-and-react play to stop the running back for a short gain. On the second play, he blew up the fullback to help the defense stop the run, and on the fourth play, Perryman made another nice stick that caused a fumble. The last play got defensive teammates and coaches fired up.

In that sequence, Perryman showed why many scouts believe he is an overlooked prospect. A projected second-round pick, Perryman was the best player on a struggling defense for years at Miami, and this is his chance to shine through and potentially creep into the first round.

Perryman has certainly has garnered some interest at the Senior Bowl. According to the linebacker, he’s already met with the linebacker-needy Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers. He’s also schedule to talk to the Philadelphia Eagles this week.

I asked Perryman about his thoughts on staying local and playing for the Dolphins.

“I can’t lie,” Perryman said. “I would love it, just to stay in Florida period. But I don’t choose where I go. So wherever I go, I’m just going to be the best player I can be.”

According to Perryman, the Dolphins asked him questions about his family and background during their meeting. It appears Miami is doing its homework to get to know the local product better. The Dolphins certainly can use linebacker help. They were ranked 24th against the run last season, and linebackers Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe could be on the chopping block due to high salaries.

Perryman is not a target for Miami with the No. 14 overall pick in the first round. But if Perryman is still on the board in the second round, he could be a match for the Dolphins.

Bookmark and Share

Giants should target Miami's Duke Johnson and Denzel Perryman

Despite not really being relevant for quite some time, the University of Miami is still producing NFL-caliber talent, and the New York Giants should take notice. Two players would be great fits with the Giants: Denzel Perryman and Duke Johnson.

I’ll start with the man they call “Duke.”

While Melvin Gordon ruled the regular season, and Ezekiel Elliott dominated the National Championship game, Duke Johnson quietly had the best rushing season in the history of the University of Miami. That’s right, Johnson had a better year than Clinton Portis, Edgerrin James, Willis McGahee and Ottis Anderson had.

His quickness, elusiveness and ball-carrier vision will make him perfectly capable of succeeding at the next level. Man, this kid is going to make some NFL team very happy because of his versatility, and I can see him putting up Pro Bowl numbers as early as his second year. The only problem is that he likely won’t make it to the Giants in the third round. I say third round because I view linebacker as a bigger need, so if Perryman is on the board when New York picks in the second round, I expect them to pull the trigger.

Speaking of Denzel Perryman.

Perryman is the more realistic option, and he would help the Giants immensely, even if he doesn’t start in 2015. Perryman was a Butkus Award finalist in 2013 and 2014. He’s coachable and extremely aggressive. Perryman does a great job of flowing to the ball. He’s great in run support, and he can fend for himself in coverage. Although Perryman is only 6’0″, he plays like he’s about six inches taller. If you don’t believe me, go check out some of his hits. The smart, savvy Perryman has all the intangibles to offer a lot to an NFL team.

His ability to fill gaps and make tackles is really remarkable. It’s easy to see why the U gave him the same number Ray Lewis and Jon Beason wore. Actually, Beason’s presence on the Giants is another reason why Perryman would be a perfect fit for Big Blue.

These two have more similarities than sharing an alma mater. They’re both so good at doing what they’re supposed to do, and they’re both leaders. Leadership isn’t a quality that can be measure, but the Giants certainly look for it. That was apparent last year as five of New York’s seven picks were team captains in college.

Ideally, Beason is the perfect guy for Perryman to learn under. If the Giants don’t want to throw Perryman in with the starters at the beginning, that’s fine. Let’s face it, as much as Giants fans – myself included – like Jon Beason, he is not the long-term answer at inside linebacker.

Here’s the issue with Johnson and Perryman, though: New York probably won’t be able to get both. Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? No.

With Johnson being ranked as high as the third-best running back (per Walter Football), and Perryman projected as a possible first rounder (second round at the very least), it’s possible one of them slips to the second round, but there’s no way the Giants can nab both Hurricanes without trading up. Johnson or Perryman slipping to the third-round almost certainly won’t happen.

Ok, I acknowledge the fact that I’m a Miami fan, so seeing two ‘Canes on the Giants would make me very happy. With that being said, I do think acquiring Johnson and Perryman would help the Giants from day one, and I do honestly think there’s a slight chance it could happen.

The lone silver lining is that the running back has kind of lost its value since the NFL has transformed into such a pass-heavy league. This year’s running back class is very strong, so there is a slight, slight chance a team won’t want to reach for Johnson in the second.

Here’s an example: in 2012 I viewed Lamar Miller as a second-to-third round talent, but he ended up going in the fourth. Although he wasn’t incredibly sought after like Trent Richardson (remember when teams wanted him?), Miller was the fourth-ranked running back behind Richardson, Doug Martin and David Wilson. The players that went before him were all ranked lower by, so it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility to see Johnson slip. Granted, Miller, although exceptional at the U, did not break records like Johnson.

The two players would be two more young, gifted players for the Giants to build around.

As previously mentioned, Jon Beason isn’t the long-term answer at linebacker, and Rashad Jennings isn’t the long-term answer at running back either. The Giants running game lacks diversity (as I’ve talked about before), and they need a change-of-pace back.

Jennings will be 30 next year, and he can’t seem to stay healthy. Pairing Andre Williams with Duke Johnson would give the Giants the foundation for the future.

Duke Johnson would be another piece of a promising offense with names like Odell Beckham, Rueben Randle, Larry Donnell, Weston Richburg and Andre Williams. Perryman, on the other hand, would join young studs like Kennard, Johnathan Hankins and Damontre Moore.

While getting both of these players is likely nothing more than a good idea, drafting only one of them would bolster the Giants immensely.

Drafting Duke Johnson and Denzel Perryman would give New York its third-straight stellar draft class as the team continues to head in the right direction.

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman Listed Among Top 10 Prospects at Senior Bowl

While the Seahawks and Patriots jump into their preparations for the Super Bowl, there’s another bowl on tap featuring some of the top NFL prospects from across the country.

This Saturday’s Senior Bowl will showcase some of the nation’s best players who have used up their college eligibility and among them is former Miami Hurricanes linebacker and hard-hitting All-American Denzel Perryman. According to ESPN’s Todd McShay, the 5-foot-11, 240-pound specimen out of Coral Gables is the fifth best prospect participating in the annual all-star game held in Mobile, Alabama.

Perryman, who pondered leaving school early after his junior season, is among the most decorated linebackers in Canes history, tallying 351 tackles (27 for loss) and seven forced fumbles in 47 career starts. He’s considered a likely first or second-round pick by most draft analysts and was a finalist for the Butkus Award, given to the country’s top linebacker. He will be joined by fellow Canes Phillip Dorsett, Ladarius Gunter, and Clive Walford.

The game will be televised at 4 p.m. ET this Saturday on NFL Network.

Bookmark and Share

Several Future NFL proCane Draft Projections

The highest-rated prospect is Ereck Flowers, UM’s former left tackle who skipped his senior season to turn pro. WalterFootball is high on Flowers, projecting him ninth overall to the New York Giants and the second offensive lineman taken. A website called Great Blue North Draft Report believes Flowers will go 14th to the hometown Dolphins. Flowers is projected 21st overall by CBS Sports’ Rob Rangand by FootballsFuture. CBS’ Dane Brugler projected Flowers 30th to Denver.

Perryman is a projected as a first-rounder per Sports Illustrated, the 21st overall pick. He also snuck into the first round of’s latest mock draft, going 30th to Denver.

Duke Johnson was a second-rounder on WalterFootball’s four-round mock draft, going 45th to Minnesota. WalterFootball listed third-round projections for Dorsett (82nd to Houston) and Walford (87th to Pittsburgh).

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has Flowers, Perryman and Johnson as second-rounders.

The website DraftTek did a seven-round mock draft that included eight Hurricanes, led by Perryman (second round, 42nd to Atlanta). Flowers (65th to Tampa) and Johnson (73rd to Atlanta) were third-round picks. Also projected to be drafted: Walford (fourth round, 125th to Green Bay), Gunter (fifth round, 132nd to Oakland), Dorsett (seventh, 194th to Tampa) and Pierre (seventh, 212nd to Philadelphia). The site also listed junior Tracy Howard (sixth, 183rd to Pittsburgh), who has not declared for the draft.

Bookmark and Share

Future proCanes in Post Season All-Star Games

Anthony Chickillo, Jon Feliciano and Shane McDermott will play in the East-West Shrine Game (4 p.m. Saturday, NFL Network). Feliciano and McDermott (of Palm Beach Central) will play for the East team, while Chickillo is on the West roster.

Olsen Pierre will play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl as will UCLA’s Malcolm Bunche, a former Cane (4 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2). Team practices will be televised Wednesday and Thursday on ESPNU.

Phillip Dorsett, Ladarius Gunter, Denzel Perryman and Clive Walford (Glades Central) will play in the Senior Bowl (4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, NFL Network).

Bookmark and Share

Denzel Perryman a Dolphins Tagret?

With the Miami Dolphins season coming to an end a couple of weeks back they will have extra time to study game footage for the upcoming NFL Draft. The Draft, which will take place in May, will give the Dolphins an excellent chance to fill a serious position of need – inside linebacker, as the experiment of transitioning Koa Misi to an inside linebacker did not go so well. This is one of the most important positions on the team as they are responsible for informing their peers of the defensive play call while also calling out audibles.

Luckily for the Dolphins there are options in this year’s draft. With a good group of prospects, the Dolphins must be willing to select one come May. It is imperative to their defense that they at least attempt to fix what could be holding them back.

One potential draftee for the Miami Dolphins is four year starter at the University of Miami, Denzel Perryman. At UM, Perryman lined his bedroom with accolades. In his final two seasons with the Hurricanes, Perryman was selected to the First-Team All-ACC and was a Butkus Award Finalist.

It is without question that over the last two seasons Perryman has been the best player on the defensive side of the ball, but arguably the most important player on the team. Two years ago the Hurricanes featured one of the worst defenses in the NCAA; even with Perryman. This year was a bit different, however, as they showed great improvements as a defense, finishing as a top fifteen unit. One of the most consistent players and leader was Perryman.

Perryman closed out his impressive career at “The U’ with 110 tackles. When it comes to instincts, Perryman separates himself from the rest. He has incredible closing speed and has a knack for properly stuffing the hole. His ability to stop the run was one of the causes for the improvement of the defense. His run stuffing ability can be shown in the video below:

Perryman doesn’t only succeed in stopping the run. He does a good job at covering receivers, tight ends and backs; making him one of the most all around middle linebackers in college.

Another plus for Perryman will be his familiarity with the team that he would play for. He played his high school and college football in Miami. The last few picks made by the Dolphins of former Miami Hurricanes have all panned out. Vernon Carey was one of their most consistent offensive lineman for a period of time, Lamar Miller recently ran for over 1,000 yards and Olivier Vernon has produced a 11.5 sack season. I’m not saying that drafting a Hurricane will automatically be successful but there is something to be said for players coming out of South Florida.

Denzel Perryman could potentially make a lot of sense for the Miami Dolphins. Drafting the fourth year senior will help fill the glaring need at the middle linebacker position. Doing so should be one of Miami’s main priorities moving forward. It is hard to claim an elite defense when the core of it is weak. Upgrading the position is a must for the Miami Dolphins and they could do so by selecting Perryman as a potential day two draft selection.

Bookmark and Share

Six proCanes Projected in First Four Rounds of 2015 NFL Draft

The 2015 NFL Draft is still several months away, but with the Miami Hurricanes’ season complete it can’t hurt to take a peek at some of their intriguing pro prospects.

The Canes might’ve finished the season with a subpar 6-7 record, but it appears there’s a solid crop of incoming NFL talent coming out of Coral Gables. Six players are projected to go in the first four rounds, according to CBS Sports rankings, which is run by NFL Draft Scout.

Rounds 1-2: Ereck Flowers, Offensive Tackle
Round 2: Duke Johnson, Running Back
Rounds 2-3: Denzel Perryman, Linebacker
Rounds 2-3: Clive Walford, Tight End
Rounds 3-4: Phillip Dorsett, Receiver
Round 4: Ladarius Gunter, Defensive Back

It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see a player like Dorsett, blessed with superhuman speed, climb up the draft boards after what should be a dynamic performanceicon1 at the NFL Combine or Miami’s Pro Day.

Defensive end Anthony Chickillo, center Shane McDermott, and offensive guard Jon Feliciano are projected to go in the sixth round or later, while many scouting services expect 9-10 Canes to get drafted overall. In Todd McShay’s first mock draft on ESPN, he projected both Flowers and Perryman to go in the first round.

For comparison’s sake, projections were pulled for in-state ACC rival and powerhouse, Florida State. They’re expected to have 10 players go in the first four rounds, but this figure assumes undecided underclassman Eddie Goldman, Ronald Darby, and Roberto Aguayo declare for the draft.

So although the Canes aren’t expected to churn out quite the same quality and quantity of NFL players this season as the Noles, talent is not as much of a scarcity as Miami’s 6-7 record would seemingly indicate.

Bookmark and Share

Four Future proCane Invited To The Senior Bowl

It looks like four Hurricanes will be heading to this year's senior bowl: linebacker Denzel Perryman, cornerback Ladarius Gunter, receiver Phillip Dorsett and tight end Clive Walford.

Eric Galko, an editor at Optimum Scouting who also provides content for the Sporting News and the National Football Post, tweeted the news out Wednesday evening. projects all four players as draft picks for the Hurricanes with Perryman currently tabbed as the best of the senior group at 58th overall (2nd round) -- seven spots behind junior tailback Duke Johnson, considered UM's top draft prospect. 

Walford, who is enjoying a stellar senior season, has seen his draft stock rise over the last couple weeks and is now tabbed as the second-best available tight end, and the 74th best prospect (2nd or 3rd rounder). Junior left tackle Ereck Flowers is also receiving a lot of love after his stellar performance against FSU two weeks removed from knee surgery. Flowers is tabbed the 77th best prospect and the ninth best draft-eligible offensive tackle (2nd or 3rd rounder).

Truth is, though, Flowers could soar even higher -- maybe into the first round.

"I think he'll go first round or early second," an NFL scout who spoke on the condition of anonymity told me by phone Thursday. "I haven't watched the [FSU] tape yet. But I don't have to. He's a big, physical, good player. And he's tough as hell."

In article by's Rob Rang on Wednesday Flowers was been tabbed the 30th best prospect overall.

30. Ereck Flowers, OT, 6-5, 322, 5.26, Jr, Miami: Flowers returns to the Big Board after a very impressive performance against Mario Edwards, Jr. and Florida State. He dropped off the list after undergoing knee surgery in late October but certainly looked no worse for wear against the defending champs. Flowers is light on his feet and balanced in pass protection. He is aggressive and active as a run blocker, including looking for defenders in pursuit. If Flowers checks out medically, he's a likely first-round pick.

Gunter is tabbed as the 18th best available cornerback in the draft and projected to go in the fourth round along with Dorsett, ranked the 20th best receiver.
Senior defensive end Anthony Chickillo, now expected to play at Virginia on Saturday and make his 45th consecutive start, is rated the 18th best defensive end and is given a 4th or 5th round grade. Other Hurricanes seniors on's projected board include outside linebacker Thurston Armbrister (210th overall, 6th round), defensive tackle Olsen Pierre (228th overall, 6th-7th round), guard Jon Feliciano (234th overall, 6th-7th round), and center Shane McDermott (298th overall, 7th round-free agent).

Bookmark and Share