It is no secret that the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft is loaded with Ohio State prospects. We have heard all about how defensive end Joey Bosa possesses top pick talent and is almost guaranteed to be off the board within the first six or seven selections. Running back Ezekiel Elliott is the most well-rounded player at his position in the 2016 field and is slated to be picked in the top-half of the first round in an era where running backs are regarded as a reach early in the draft. Taylor Decker, Darron Lee, Eli Apple and Michael Thomas are also thought to be drafted in or just outside of the opening round. In what is shaping up to be a historic draft, even by Ohio State standards, could linebacker Joshua Perry not only be a sleeper first round pick but formulate himself into the best pro out of the group?
Forget about Ohio State, we already know that Perry is probably the nicest guy in the entire draft field and is a true role-model. However, the man can play some football. Perry missed just five tackles throughout the entire 2015 season.
Now, think about that for a second. That is an amazing stat considering it was a rarity to see Perry on the sidelines during a defensive snap for the Buckeyes. An NFL linebacker who rarely misses tackles is the recipe for a long and successful career, provided that the injury bug is avoided. Perry’s versatility will be a huge advantage as he is more than capable of playing any of the three linebacker positions.
Athleticism usually isn’t one of the first things we talk about regarding Perry, but it probably should be. He is listed at 6’4″, 254 pounds and was the third-heaviest linebacker to run the 40 at the 2016 NFL Combine. Perry finished the 40 in 4.68 seconds and only six other linebackers finished with a faster time.
Not that the other Ohio State players who will be drafted, whether it is round one or seven, are going to have brief and unsuccessful careers because they shouldn’t, but I like Perry to play on Sunday’s for a decade-plus and finish his career as one of the better Buckeyes selected when we look back at this draft class. Is it likely that Perry will know which team he is playing for by the end of the first round? Probably not, but around this time in the next year or two, 32 general managers may be trying to figure out who the next Joshua Perry is.
NFL scouts and experts mainly agree that Perry’s play is not dominating in any one area on the field, but it’s extremely well-rounded and diverse when it comes to possible defensive schemes and should be a great fit for any of the 32 teams he will soon be a part of.
Have you ever heard Perry speak? Not that his voice has anything to do with the football field, but Perry sounds like and is as intelligent as it gets. The intelligent players are the ones who turn into solid NFL pros. Not all, but especially the players with talent and Perry certainly possesses that. Being such a high-character guy, Perry will be an addition welcomed wholeheartedly by the NFL. At the end of the day, Perry’s character and football ability may be mentioned in the same sentence and not necessarily in that order.