2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Edge Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma

Ronnie Perkins is a raw prospect with some interesting upside as a situational pass rusher.
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EDGE RONNIE PERKINS

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 247 lbs.
Class: Junior 
School: Okahoma


 A former four-star recruit out of St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended Lutheran North High School, he was the number one ranked recruit in the state during the 2018 cycle. Perkins was Second Team All Big-12 in 2019 and 2020. He was suspended in 2019 for the National Championship run, which bled into 2020 due to failing a drug test.

In three seasons, Perkins has 98 total tackles, 32 for a loss, and 16.5 sacks. According to Pro Football Focus, he had 32 pressures in 2020 and 31 in 2019 - showing his consistent ability to generate trouble as a pass rusher. Perkins reportedly ran a 4.71 at his pro day before tweaking a muscle in his lower body, which shouldn’t threaten his chances at OTAs.

Perkins caught the eyes of scouts at the rest of his pro day. He looked tenacious and physical in bag drills and ran a 4.69 20-yard-shuttle with 25 reps at 225 pounds.

His lower body explosive numbers were solid (9’7” broad jump and 32” vertical)--the broad jump is around the 65th percentile, and the vertical jump is just under the 50th percentile, according to Mockdraftable’s database.

Traits

Not overly long, but he carries his weight very well with a muscular frame. Perkins has quality athletic traits that allow him to rush the passer; he possesses a quick first step, has some twitch/explosiveness, and shows an impressive bend in his hips at times--he has demonstrated the ability to use ghost technique from a wide-angle to flatten the corner. Perkins aligned with his hand in the dirt and a two-point stance but was rarely ever used in coverage.

I wish Perkins was a bit more stout and disciplined against the run; a bit too often, he would falsely react and put himself into tough situations - a bit more reactionary than he is decisively correct about executing his assignments. He has solid play strength at the point of attack; his leverage allows him to sink and attempt to lockout, but he doesn't appear to be overly long.

The diagnosing ability versus run plays may force him into a situational pass-rushing role early on in the NFL, and he possesses a lot of good traits that can assist his pass-rushing ability.

He has a quick first step and good explosiveness. He does a solid job winning the half-man relationship and bending around contact at the top of the arc - it’s not overly consistent, and there may be more bend in the hips rather than the ankles, but he CAN win with his flexibility.

He packs some violence into his rushes and uses a frequent chop/dip/rip that he attempts to employ, along with a push-pull move to stack and quickly shed tackles--he’s crafty with his hand use but doesn’t have a go-to counter moves once his plan fails. Short area quickness allows him to close width and collapse into the pocket.

I also love Perkins's ability to convert his speed and quickness into power. He uses long arm technique to raise the center of gravity of linemen while quickly getting to the half-man and either ripping or swimming through blocks while taking advantage of the setup move.

He could stand to develop some more pass-rushing moves that can help him take his pass-rushing upside to the next level, but the combination of suddenness, pop in hands, bend, and burst is a good starting kit. I also love his quickness when he explodes off his outside foot to challenge inside rushing paths. Perkins plays with a lot of hustle and competitive toughness.

Perkins is also a great backside pursuit defender if he reads the play correctly. He uses a great motor, a wide tackle radius, and a fiery attitude to track ball-carriers down and stop the offense from moving the football.

Overall, Perkins may be at his best in a situational pass-rushing role. He can use his pass-rushing upside to generate pressure; this will allow him not to rely on his questionable run instinct and defending ability. He’s not inept as a run defender, but he could use a year to process the nuances of whatever defense drafts him. Developing more of a consistent pass rush plan would benefit Perkins as well. 


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