NFL Draft Prospect Spotlight: Ronnie Perkins

Oklahoma Sooners explosive edge rusher Ronnie Perkins has the Las Vegas Raiders and all of the NFL Draft watching his tape

Defensive linemen that top out at 6-3 and around 250 pounds aren’t traditionally looked at as being prototypical for the position.

When it comes to the 2021 NFL Draft, there are actually multiple edge defenders with those measurables.

One, Azeez Ojulari of Georgia, is projected as a possible first-round pick and already has been previewed as a potential Las Vegas Raiders fit.

The other, Ronnie Perkins of Oklahoma, isn’t in the first-round conversation, but should still find his name called in the early rounds.

That’s based on a three-year stretch putting up strong numbers for the Sooners.

Perkins had at least five sacks in every season and had a career-high 13.5 tackles for loss in 2019.

On a per-game basis, he undoubtedly had his best season in 2020.

In only six games, Perkins had 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for losses. He also received his best rating from Pro Football Focus (PFF), ranking as the second-best edge defender in college football last season.

Perkins also was the only defensive end who had grades over 90 for pass rushing and runs the defense.

When it comes to his athletic traits, Perkins has the kind of speed that makes it seem like he was shot out of a cannon when he comes off the line.

Perkins also brings great strength for a player of his size and is able to hold up well against much bigger offensive tackles.

What can be a problem, though, is when linemen are able to get their hands on Perkins, as scouts have noted that he struggles to disengage with his hands.

There’s also the fact that before 2020, Perkins highest PFF ranking had been 169th.

It brings the question of if what he showed last season might be an exception rather than a new norm for his play quality.

All of this goes without saying that was suspended by Oklahoma for a failed drug test related to marijuana, creating a potential character concern for teams.

The flaws are certainly there for Perkins, but his explosiveness is no joke.

If he can get stronger in his hands and add some more pass rush moves, he could end up being a big boom pick on Day Two of the draft.

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