When the Las Vegas Raiders traded for veteran linebacker Denzel Perryman from the Carolina Panthers right before last season started, it wasn't a move that was going to make a lot of waves.
Perryman had proven to be at least serviceable during his time with the Los Angeles Chargers, the majority of which was playing in defensive coordinator Gus Bradley's defense.
That was likely a big reason why the Raiders traded for Perryman, as he could provide an experienced voice for Bradley as the Raiders' defensive coordinator last season.
What the Raiders and their fans might not have expected was for Perryman to post by far the best season of his career, finishing with 154 total tackles.
That kind of run-stuffing ability was reflected in a recent ranking by Pro Football Focus of the league's best linebackers, in a story written by Sam Monson.
Monson has Perryman ranked 23rd and in the list's seventh tier, appropriately titled "Run-Stuffers."
Monson notes how even with the NFL becoming more of a passing league, there is still room for more traditional linebackers geared more toward stopping the run.
Perryman, Monsun says, "has been the embodiment of that in his NFL career, to the point where he was often kept off the field on passing downs."
That's fairly accurate, as Perryman had never played more than 65 percent of his team's defensive snaps before this season.
That jumped to 83 percent last year with the Raiders, where he became an indispensable member of the team's defense.
It should also be noted that while he's still not a coverage ace, Perryman did grade out as being a little above average in coverage by PFF.
The Raiders are probably fine with that, as long as Perryman continues to set the tone and be the thumper the Raiders need in the middle of their defense.
Perryman will have that opportunity once again in new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham's defense, and the motivation should be increased even more.
That comes as Perryman is in the last year of his contract, and nearing age 30, is looking at what could be the last, best chance he has at securing a long-term deal, something the Raiders would love to reward if all goes well.
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