Ronnie Perkins 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report
A player who leaps off the screen and can be disruptive on almost every play, we assess Ronnie Perkins’ 2021 NFL Draft scouting report today and see if he is worth a first-round pick as the Oklahoma edge prospect continues to climb draft boards.
Ronnie Perkins NFL Draft Profile
Ronnie Perkins, Edge - Oklahoma
Height - 6’3’’
Weight - 247
Class - Junior
Hometown - St. Louis, Missouri
Was an early enrolee out of High School as a 4 -star recruit and named as a Top 10 defensive end by ESPN. General consensus 1st ranked defensive end in Missouri.
Saw the field early as a freshman in 2018 and was named a freshman All-American leading the team with 5 sacks and 8 tackles for a loss.
His play improved in 2019 being named to the 2nd team All-BIG12 honours by the league's coaches, starting all 13 games gaining 6 sacks and 13 tackles for loss.
Repeated the 2nd Team BIG12 honours in 2020 but missed the first five games of the season playing and starting in the remaining 6 logging 24 tackles of which 10.5 for a loss, 5.5 sacks and 9 QB hurries.
Nicknamed “Man Man” by his mother as he was so big and strong as a child. Decided to forgo his Senior season and enter the 2021 NFL Draft stating he wanted to be a household name!
Perkins has a lean waist and muscular frame with above average arm length. He puts this to use being the aggressor in laying hands on his opponent, converting speed to power out of his stance. He shows powerful pop in his hands and plays with strength above his weight as you visibly see bigger opponents jolt backwards on first contact.
Has had production in all of his three seasons at Oklahoma, every game you will hear his name called or see a replay of him sacking or getting pressure on an opposing QB, he’s always busy and rarely not involved in a game.
Whilst his first step is not considered explosive, it is rapid enough to get him to top speed quickly, however he runs very up right before lowering his pad height on contact. This could be to keep an eye in the backfield, but he could gain even more power by remaining low.
His transition to top speed has frequently caught offensive tackles off balance, this advantage is seized upon with a really nice use of a straight arm giving little time to recover. There’s a good variety of pass rush moves on display along with the aforementioned straight arm.
Perkins will also utilise a bull rush or a dip and rip to the outside reducing his surface area for his opponent well, keeping his hands active with powerful swats trying to reduce contact. It’s the inside swim or dip move that he uses so effectively, he does an outstanding job attacking half man on the inside shoulder remaining skinny himself revealing very little of his chest.
He finds consistent success bursting through the inside B gap into the backfield, keeping his legs driving and ripping upwards with his outside arm. The penetration he often gains is due to his athletic lateral movement which he combines with a shifty head or shoulder feint, this is extremely effective at keeping a tackle guessing as to which shoulder he’ll attack.
His play speed and style are fun to watch, he’s “all in” on every down and is the tone setter for the defense bringing energy and an antagonistic element post play and teams are going to love the effort and aggression.
Perkins shows terrific hustle even when the play seems dead and he’s out of it, a fleeing QB will have to watch their back as no play is given up on. He’s a sound tackler rarely falling backwards on impact and I can’t recall seeing any missed tackles. Makes a point of holding up runners waiting for teammates to gang tackle rather than risk missing an opponent for a splash play.
His versatility will be a major asset at the next level, he’s lined up on either side of the line standing up or in a 3- or 4-point stance. Whilst not a strength he’ll line up inside a tight end at 5 or sometimes 4i all the way out to a wide 9. He’s not been asked to drop into coverage often but has done so in short zones and was cleverly utilised as a QB Spy in the BIG 12 Championship game against Iowa State.
Perkins biggest issue is when an opposing tackle gets a grip on him. He is a player that initiates first contact as he has to win on it. He’s extremely effective in doing so but once engaged by a lineman he will be nullified. He must learn the use of counters as he struggles to disengage and loses leverage.
Whilst he has the speed to attack the edge, he shows some stiffness in his frame and leans forward more than showing natural bend, all too often a lineman can use his own momentum against him pushing him to the floor at the apex of his arc or easing him past the QB, despite this and to his own credit he will never give up the play. This was all too frequent in early career film in 2018 & 2019 but still rears its head in 2020.
Occasionally shows poor technique at taking on pulling guards or tackles, he strangely leads with the shoulder as if trying to “bump” them to one side. This approach could result in an injury if it continues, you expect this to be coached out of him.
The run game is the biggest concern for Perkins, he cannot play inside a tackle or a tight end as he doesn’t have enough upper body strength. The strength in his game comes from his approach speed into the play and using his natural hand pop.
His run play technique rarely involves playing contain as he seems to crash inside or shoot an inside gap at all cost to get into the backfield to make a play, it’s difficult to tell if he has a license to do so due to the personnel around him but contain can be completely lost if the ball is run off tackle to the C gap. On wide runs he shows better success at disengaging and chasing down.
A lot of production comes from loops and stunts meaning he is potentially getting more pressure and production from the scheme rather than his own doing. Whilst he’s extremely successful at it, he simply won’t have as much movement on the line on early downs at the next level and will be expected to play with more discipline and win one on one matchups.
It’s reported Perkins lost weight this season and looking at his frame you get the impression this will be the weight he plays at. It’s a difficult projection to suggest that he will play all three downs at the weight he is as a 4-3 base end and has shown so few snaps in coverage that a transition to 3-4 end will require some patience with a change in assignment.
He was suspended for the 2019 Peach Bowl with a positive drugs test which meant he missed the first 6 games of the 2020 season, teams will have to dig in on his background character as to whether this is a long-term issue or simply maturity.
Perkins is a big character for Oklahoma and a lot of fun to watch. He was sorely missed early on in the season and with the immediate turnaround of the defense on his return, he showed how vital he was to them.
He plays with fire in his belly and has a tenacious attitude on every play. The film from 2020 was a huge upgrade on his previous two years where he played with speed and little hand usage, the redress of balance this year has shown with 32 QB pressures.
I can see an immediate role at the next level but the first-round talk amongst the draft community seems far too optimistic for me despite the elevated value of an edge player.
I can see him being moved around the line of scrimmage causing mismatches on third downs as a designated pass rusher wreaking havoc with his speed and heavy hands. He simply will not stand up in the run game at present, but that’s not to say progression in this area is not possible.
Ronnie Perkins NFL Draft Projection
Mid to late Day 2 selection
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Oklahoma Vs Florida - Cotton Bowl - https://youtu.be/BsMBC6yiAD8
Oklahoma Vs Oklahoma State - https://youtu.be/w1iFEWtTMS8
Oklahoma Vs Iowa State - BIG12 Championship Game - https://youtu.be/s-8KDYow4R8
Oklahoma Vs Iowa State - All-22
Oklahoma Vs Texas BIG12 Championship Game - https://youtu.be/3uzVJi6N5yc