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2021 NFL Draft Position Preview: EDGE prospects

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The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off next Thursday from Cleveland, Ohio.

There was no NFL Scouting Combine this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, thus adding extra importance to the pro day circuit. It served as a key opportunity for prospects to showcase their skills and athleticism to NFL teams prior to the start of the draft.

Leading up to April 29, Giants.com will be breaking down the top prospects at each position according to NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 draft prospect list.

First up are the edge defenders.

Current EDGE defenders on Giants roster: Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Ryan Anderson, Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin, Niko Lalos, Trent Harris, Breeland Speaks

Gregory Rousseau, Miami

Height/Weight: 6-foot-7, 265 pounds

2019 stats: 13 games, 54 tackles (34 solo), 15.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one pass defended (opted out of 2020 season)

Accolades: First-Team All-ACC (2019), Second-Team All-American (2019), Freshman All-American (2019), ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year (2019)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 13

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Rousseau is a tall, long and rangy defender. He aligned all over the front in Miami's scheme and was extremely productive in 2019 despite having limited experience on the defensive line (he played safety and wide receiver in high school). He lacks an elite get-off as a pass rusher, but his combination of quick hands, length and instincts leads to sacks and pressures in bunches. He has an effective swipe/rip move and he can close/finish. He didn't show much power early in the '19 season, but he got better every week. By the end of the season, he flashed the ability to convert speed to power (see: Duke game). He is very comfortable and effective rushing inside. In the run game, he uses his length to set the edge, but he does get too high at times. His effort is excellent. Overall, Rousseau is still developing, but he has found a way to post elite production while learning on the job. His best football is ahead of him."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "Rousseau is tall, long and quick off the edge. He has power to overwhelm blockers and works back inside once he is even with the quarterback. He opted out of the 2020 season, but he had 15.5 sacks in 2019 for the Hurricanes -- which ranked him No. 2 in the country behind Chase Young -- and he totaled 19.5 tackles for loss (tied for seventh). As a run-defender, Rousseau can set the edge and make plays. He has future Pro Bowl talent."

ESPN's Mel Kiper: "Rousseau is another opt-out for this season and I'm not quite as high on his 2019 tape as others. He has a massive frame, but I didn't see an explosive first step off the line of scrimmage. He was inconsistent from snap to snap. He had 15.5 sacks, but a few of those were coverage takedowns. The draft, though, is all about potential and traits, and there's no doubt that Rousseau has both. I'm really interested in seeing his testing numbers at his pro day, and I know scouts will be watching closely."

Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner: "After opting out in 2020, Rousseau is an enigma in this edge class. He obviously has the sack production — 16, per PFF's charting in 2019 — but his down-to-down effectiveness wasn't nearly as dominant as that sack total would suggest. His 80.7 pass-rushing grade in 2019 was almost the exact same as Jayson Oweh's this past season, and Oweh didn't register a single sack. The biggest reason why? Rousseau actually struggles as a true edge rusher. The vast majority of his production came inside against guards and centers. When lined up outside of offensive tackles, he earned only a 71.3 pass-rushing grade. For a player whose incredible length and frame give him a leg up as a pass rusher, it's concerning that it hasn't translated yet. With only 546 career snaps to his name, there's not much to go off, either."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A one-year starter at Miami, Rousseau lined up at left defensive end in Diaz's scheme, and reduced inside on passing downs as a three-technique or nose tackle. He was a wide receiver and defensive back for most of his life (moved to defensive line in 2017 as a high school senior), and was thrown into the defensive line rotation as a redshirt freshman with the Hurricanes and blossomed as his playing time increased. He joined Ohio State's Chase Young as the only FBS players to reach 15 sacks in 2019. A super-long athlete, Rousseau keeps his momentum downhill with violent hands and easy acceleration, helping him to quickly disengage from blocks. He is an intelligent player and can talk the talk when it comes to breaking down pass rush execution, but he is upright and overly reliant on speed/length and needs to improve his anchor, technique and diagnose skills. Overall, Rousseau is a faith-based projection with clear bust potential because he is still learning how to be impactful from snap-to-snap. But his natural instincts and traits (length, frame, athleticism) give him a Chandler Jones-type of ceiling."

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein: "Long-limbed, even-front end with a projectable frame but a concerning lack of functional edge experience. Much of his sack production came via athletic mismatches against interior blockers when reduced inside. He lacks prototypical get-off and needs more violence and pop in his hands, but his length, pursuit agility and wide-open throttle really stand out on tape. He doesn't come off as unwilling at the point of attack. Expect noticeable improvement as a run defender once he adds play strength and learns to bend and anchor more effectively. The checked boxes are a bit uneven, but that appears to be more a reflection of a lack of film rather than projectable talent. He carries a bit of a boom/bust profile, but also has the makings of a player who can become a quality 4-3 end within his first three seasons."

Kwity Paye, Michigan

Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 272 pounds

2020 stats: 4 games, 16 tackles (12 solo), 2.0 sacks, 4.0 tackles for loss

Accolades: 2x Second-Team All-Big Ten (2019, 2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 14

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Paye has the ideal frame and explosiveness for an NFL edge rusher. He's at his best playing on the outside, but Michigan had him moving all around their front, including playing head-up over the center. As a pass rusher, he is explosive out of his stance, but it looks different because of his short/choppy steps. I'd like to see him cover more ground, but that is easily correctable. He has violent hands to create a knockback, but he still needs to develop a better plan to consistently escape and finish. I love his effort and determination. Against the run, he crushes tight ends at the point of attack and can close in a hurry from the back side. He does have some stiffness in space, but he's a capable dropper in the flat. Paye is raw, but there could be a huge payoff when he puts it all together."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "Paye can slip blocks and make plays in the backfield. He is still developing as a pass-rusher -- though he had 6.5 sacks in 2019 and 2.0 in four games this season -- but the ceiling is high. I like his range, and he has a professional approach to the game. Paye is possibly a 3-4 OLB candidate in the NFL."

ESPN's Mel Kiper: "It's all about projection with Paye, who had just two sacks in four games in 2020 (both in the season opener) and only 11.5 sacks in his four years in Ann Arbor. I don't think he has scratched the surface of his talent. He is a gifted athlete with an impressive frame, and he has some scheme versatility if he keeps growing. Paye is a great athlete -- he put up outstanding testing numbers at his pro day -- who didn't produce a ton at Michigan. If you're a general manager taking him in Round 1, you're betting on his upside."

Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner: "Paye is a caliber of athlete that I'm not sure the NFL has ever seen. His sub-6.5 three-cone at over 260 pounds is nothing short of unprecedented for a man that size. That type of turning ability is precisely what is needed to win at the edge defender position. Combine that with his explosive get-off and elite play strength, and you have the makings of a true freak at the position. But none of that matters if he can't translate it to a football field. That may have been true early in his career, but Paye has made massive strides in recent seasons. In only four games in 2020, he racked up 22 pressures and 11 run stops. As a result, he saw his overall grade leap from 80.9 in 2019 to 86.3 this past year. Showing that continued improvement is necessary when buying into the possibility of Paye figuring it out in the NFL."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A two-year starter at Michigan, Paye played boundary defensive end in Brown's base 4-3 scheme while lining up outside and inside. He became a full- time starter for the Wolverines as a junior and led the team in tackles for loss. Although his overall career production (11.5 sacks in 38 games) leaves a lot to be desired, he was often lined up inside the tackle and wasn't used as a true edge threat where he could capitalize on his talent. The No. 1 ranked player on Bruce Feldman's 2020 Freaks List, Paye has rare lower body twitch and fluidity for his size and leverages his strong hands at the point of attack, giving blockers all they can handle on the edges. While there are no concerns about his competitive drive or motor, his pass rush instincts are undeveloped and his traits are better than his tape. Overall, Paye's pass rush toolbox isn't very deep right now, but he is a compact, explosive athlete with menacing energy and toughness vs. the run. He projects as a dynamic, scheme-versatile NFL starter once his skills are developed."

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein: "The explosive testing will surely get teams and evaluators excited, but it might be hard to bang the table for him based on the tape. Paye's traits and potential should not be discounted, as he'll continue to be skilled up in technique and fundamentals. However, he's a choppy-stepping short-strider who doesn't play with the feel and instincts of an NFL playmaker. He can overcome his lack of stride length as a rusher with a more focused, upfield attack and better hands at the top of his rush, but he might be better-suited as a reduced rusher on passing downs, where his quickness could overwhelm guards. The traits and explosiveness are enticing but the film says "good" rather than "great" at this time."

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft for the final time before the start of the draft.

Jaelan Phillips, Miami

Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 266 pounds

2020 stats: 10 games, 45 tackles (21 solo), 8.0 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, one interception, three passes defensed

Accolades: Second-Team All-ACC (2020), AP Second-Team All-American (2020), AFCA First-Team All-American (2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 22

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Phillips is a tall, explosive and bendy edge rusher. He splits his time between playing with his hand on the ground and standing up on the edge. As a pass rusher, he has an excellent get-off and possesses the ankle flexibility to bend and corner smoothly at the top of his rush. He has an explosive inside counter move and he also uses his length to pop/separate to generate sacks and pressures. He needs to be more consistent using his hands to control blockers against the run. He has speed/burst to quickly close from the back side. There is some concern about Phillips' durability based on his injury history during his UCLA career (he transferred to Miami in 2019), but he has as much talent as any pass rusher in this draft class."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "A transfer from UCLA, Phillips medically retired from football in 2018 after injury-plagued seasons with the Bruins. But he was able to return, deciding to join the Hurricanes. And wow, did he burst back onto the scene in 2020. In 10 games, Phillips had 8 sacks (tied for 13th in the nation), 15.5 tackles for loss (sixth), 45 tackles and an interception. I love his length and suddenness."

ESPN's Mel Kiper: "I mentioned in November that Phillips was off to a tremendous start in his first season with the Hurricanes, and he wreaked havoc down the stretch. He had 5.5 sacks in his final three games. A former five-star prospect who had some injury issues at UCLA, Phillips landed at Miami and has put all of his talent together. He had only 4.5 sacks over two years with the Bruins. Phillips has a great frame for a 4-3 defensive end, and I really like his all-around game. In a class desperate for pass-rushers, I could see him being the first edge defender off the board. It's just a shame we never got to see him play on the other side of Gregory Rousseau, who opted out of the season."

Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner: "Of all the physical anomalies in the draft class, Phillips may be the one with the most ideal all-around set of physical tools when it comes to projecting to the edge in the NFL. Size, length, burst, bend — you name it, Phillips has it. It's why he was an all-world recruit when he signed with UCLA way back in 2017. After putting it all together with an 83.0 run-defense grade and an 86.7 pass-rushing grade this past season at Miami, Phillips' concerns are mainly injury-related. UCLA forced him to medically retire already because of concussions, and he had played only 420 snaps in three seasons prior to 2020. If you could guarantee he'd be on the field for his entire rookie deal, Phillips would be in the EDGE1 conversation."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A one-year starter at Miami, Phillips lined up at left defensive end in head coach Manny Diaz's scheme, standing up and rushing with his hand on the ground. After medically retiring following his third concussion in college, he transferred from UCLA to Miami and reminded the football world why he was the No. 1 recruit in the 2017 class, leading the Hurricanes with 15.5 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks (both second in ACC). With his natural twitch, Phillips is very smooth in his upfield attack and redirect, using his hands/reach as weapons and rushing with his curls on fire. His eyes stay locked on the ball and allow him to see through blockers, making him equally productive vs. the run and the pass. Overall, Phillips has first-round talent with his body type, twitchy athleticism and nose for the football, but the medical feedback will ultimately decide his NFL Draft grade. He projects as a high-energy rusher similar to Ryan Kerrigan when healthy."

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein: "Edge defender with plus physical attributes and a motor that keeps him working and attacking throughout the rep. Philips might have the combination of length and athleticism that would allow teams to look at him with a hand on the ground or standing depending on his weight. Adding play strength will be important so that he can stack it up when setting the edge as a run defender in the league. He's a slippery-limbed pass rusher with good first-step quickness, which bodes well for his future rush success if he gets better with his hands and learns a go-to counter. He has a shot at becoming a solid future starter along the edge if his medicals pan out."

Azeez Ojulari, Georgia

Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 240 pounds

2020 stats: 10 games, 31 tackles (22 solo), 9.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, two passes defensed

Accolades: Second-Team All-SEC (2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 29

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Ojulari is a slightly undersized edge rusher. He split time between playing with his hand on the ground and standing up on the edge for the Bulldogs. He takes short/quick steps and has a variety of pass-rush moves. He will push/pull, utilize a jump/slap/swim move or stick his head into the chest of offensive tackles and bull through them. He isn't an elite bender at the top of his rush due to some ankle tightness. His effort is excellent. He can stack and set the edge consistently versus the run. He can turn and chase, showing the ability to quickly close. He saved his best for the Peach Bowl against Cincinnati. He was a destructive force in that contest. Overall, Ojulari has some tightness and lacks ideal size, but he made plays in every game I studied. He is best suited to stand up on the outside for an odd-front team."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "Ojulari has good size, speed and bend. I really like his first-step burst when pass rushing, and his instincts are advanced. He is definitely better as a pass-rusher than in coverage, but he does have pretty good range underneath when asked to drop back. Ojulari's 8.5 sacks tied for eighth most in the country in 2020, and his three forced fumbles were tied for fifth."

Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner: "Ojulari is quite easily the most polished pure pass-rushing prospect among the top of the class. "If you beat the hands, you beat the man" is the mantra he lives by, and it shows repeatedly on his tape. It's why he earned a 91.7 pass-rushing grade this past season. Unfortunately, he's also the one with the biggest physical question marks. At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Ojulari is so dang skinny for the position. You don't see too many reps of him playing through opposing offensive linemen. While having more ways to win becomes more important against athletic tackles in the NFL who can match his speed, it's not necessarily the end-all, be-all. Rushers such as Yannick Ngakoue and Brian Burns have been productive with similar skill sets. With Ojulari's bend and explosiveness, I'd bet on him figuring it out."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A two-year starter at Georgia, Ojulari lined up as the JACK linebacker in head coach Kirby Smart's 3-3-5 base scheme, standing up and rushing with his hand on the ground. After a promising redshirt freshman campaign, he was one of the best pass rushers in the SEC in 2020, leading the conference in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles. Ojulari senses how blockers want to attack him and is very skilled at using his burst/bend to attack their outside shoulder, greasing the corner and detaching from blocks with his violent hands. While he lacks elite size for the position, that shouldn't limit his NFL ceiling if he continues to diversify his approach and develop his counters. Overall, Ojulari is an instinctive and explosive athlete with the dip-and-rip cornering skills and scheme versatility to become an impact NFL pass rusher. He projects as a younger version of Yannick Ngakoue."

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein: "Fully grown 3-4 outside linebacker with NFL-ready strength and impressive explosiveness. Ojulari is better in pursuit than he is as an edge setter, but he is quick to slide off a block and either make a tackle or accelerate to pursue in space. His ability to attack pulling blocks and shut down potential running lanes was fun to watch against Alabama. He has quality rush burst with loose limbs, but has a limited number of rush moves. Ojulari hasn't learned to set up blockers yet. The strength, football character, explosiveness and athleticism all get check marks, but he won't reach his potential until he cultivates his pass-rush talent and learns to stay separated from the punch."

View photos of every player projected to the Giants in mock drafts just days ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Jayson Oweh, Penn State

Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 252 pounds

2020 stats: 7 games, 38 tackles (20 solo), 6.5 tackles for loss, one pass defended

Accolades: First-Team All-Big Ten (2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 31

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Oweh is a long, lean-muscled edge rusher. He is more disruptive than productive on 2020 tape. As a pass rusher, he explodes out of his four-point stance and flashes an effective chop/rip and an occasional up/under move. However, there are too many snaps where he doesn't have much of a plan. He does have the ability to bend at the top of his rush and collected a lot of QB hits on the tape I watched. He didn't have any sacks to show for it in 2020, though. He plays too high against the run, but he uses his length to press out tackles and set the edge. He will get washed by down blocks when aligned inside. Overall, Oweh is an intriguing talent with his best football ahead of him."

Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner: "If Paye is the freakiest edge rusher in the class, Oweh is a close second. In fact, he's made the top-10 on Bruce Feldman's annual Freak's List twice because of his out-of-this-world explosiveness. At over 250 pounds, the redshirt sophomore reportedly runs a sub-4.4-second 40-yard dash. Just watch how quickly he closes in space. Once again, that all means nothing without on-field production. And even though Oweh didn't register a single sack this past season, he was a much more complete player than the sub-package guy we saw in 2019. His run-defense grade jumped from 59.5 in 2019 to 89.7 this past season after he played with much better leverage consistently. Showing those type of seminal improvements is key because this is a guy who started playing football only in 2016. You can forgive him for being a little raw."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A one-year starter at Penn State, Oweh lined up at left defensive end in defensive coordinator Brent Pry's four-man front, standing up and rushing with his hand on the ground. A basketball-first athlete most of his life, he showed steady development since arriving in Happy Valley and although his 2020 statline was disappointing with zero sacks, he was consistently disruptive and affected the backfield action. Oweh is super explosive with his first two steps, which allow him to set up moves with his slippery athleticism or soften the edge with his hands and momentum. He has a projectable body and moves differently than most athletes his size, but the instincts are currently lacking and extra development is needed to reach his sky-high ceiling. Overall, Oweh is a work-in-progress with his rush plan, counters and feel, but all the athletic and physical traits that NFL teams covet at the position are there. He projects as a high risk, high reward pass rusher in the Jason Pierre-Paul mold."

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein: "Prototypical NFL build and some of the most exciting traits and explosiveness of any edge defender in this draft. Those features can't be taught but they can be coached up, so any concerns about his lack of polish at this stage should be tempered. He has dominant potential as a run defender with burst and range to upend back-side and play-side runs, turning them into short gains or losses. While he figures to stack up stats with sheer athleticism, he does lack eye discipline and feel for blocking schemes, which tends to derail his momentum at times. He's slow getting off the snap, which dulls the early advantage he should be able to generate with his wicked get-off as a rusher. At this point, the hand usage and overall rush plan are lacking, but he has the feet for inside counters, the power to pull rush and the bend to dip and run the rush arc with fury. It's not all there yet, but with more coaching and experience, Oweh has the ability to rate as a Pro Bowl rush linebacker with the ability to stick a hand in the ground if you need it."

Joe Tryon, Washington

Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 262 pounds

2019 stats: 13 games, 41 tackles (27 solo), 8.0 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, one pass defended (opted out of 2020 season)

Accolades: Second-Team All-Pac-12 (2019)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 35

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Tryon has an ideal frame/build for an edge rusher. His game is built on his strength and power more than his speed and agility. He has an average get-off as a pass rusher, but he has shock in his hands to jolt offensive tackles, separate and close on the quarterback. He has a nasty push/pull move and can shorten the edge by powering through the outside shoulder. He isn't bendy at the top of his rush due to some ankle tightness. His effort is exceptional. He dominated tight ends at the point of attack against the run and he can reset the line of scrimmage. Overall, Tryon plays with force and effort, which affects both the run and pass game. He can make an impact on all three downs and should get on the field right away for the team that drafts him."

ESPN's Todd McShay: "Tryon opted out of the 2020 season, but he tallied 12.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks for Washington in 2019. He has some versatility to his game, lining up as a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 outside linebacker. Tryon exhibits a quick first step as a pass-rusher, showing a fluid swim move and flashing a quick spin maneuver on blockers. And against the run, he is strong and can fight through double-teams, though he loses outside contain a bit too often."

Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner: "Tryon is about as pure a physical projection as you'll see at the edge position. He has the size, length and explosiveness that the NFL covets. That's about it. He earned only a 71.9 pass-rushing grade and a 62.0 run-defense grade in 2019 before opting out in 2020. If you're buying into Tryon, it's because of the high-level flashes. While there are some far more productive edge rushers ranked below him on our big board, those guys aren't capable of reps like this that we saw from Tryon against likely top-five pick Penei Sewell."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A one-year starter at Washington, Tryon lined up as a hybrid edge rusher in then-defensive coordinator (and current Huskies head coach) Jimmy Lake's multiple defense, and occasionally lined up as an off-ball linebacker or hand-in-the-dirt lineman inside the offensive tackle. He emerged as one of the Pac-12's best edge players as a sophomore, but when he opted out of the 2020 season he left unanswered questions about his development. Tryon looks straight out of central casting with his frame, length and athleticism and he doesn't stray from his competitive edge. While eager to initiate contact, he needs to do a better job setting up and eluding blockers while also maturing his anticipation and arsenal of moves (needs to play more with his mind and not just his heart). Overall, Tryon is still a work in progress, but he owns the tools to streamline his pass rush skills with added coaching. He projects as a future NFL starter similar to Marcus Davenport when he was coming out of college."

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein: "Impressive physical specimen with the traits and athletic profile to move up the draft board, but tape shows he might still need more course work before he's ready to make a difference in the pros. He uses his length and hands effectively at the point of attack, but needs to weaponize them as a pass rusher. Currently, he's too obvious as a rusher and doesn't have a myriad of go-to moves or counters when he's facing off against a talented opponent. The key for Tryon will be learning to grease the edge and create angles of entry both inside and outside. He has high upside but could spend the first year or two as a rotational defender while adding more polish."

Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma

Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 247 pounds

2020 stats: 6 games, 23 tackles (16 solo), 5.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss

Accolades: Second-Team All-Big 12 (2020)

Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 Ranking: No. 43

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: "Perkins is a powerful edge rusher with active hands and impressive instincts. As an edge rusher, he has a quick first step and he can quickly generate power without much of a runway. He has a wide variety of moves: push/pull, club, up-and-under and speed-to-power. (To see his pure power, watch what he does to Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins.) Perkins doesn't have elite bend at the top of his rush, but he is a good finisher once he arrives at the quarterback. Against the run, he can stack and hold blocks on the front side, and he does a nice job of squeezing down from the back side. Overall, Perkins is a little undersized, but I love his combination of strength, skill and savvy. He should be an impact pass rusher as soon as he steps onto an NFL field."

Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner: "Perkins was a bit of a surprise to declare after he dealt with a suspension to open the 2020 season and played only six games all year. It's hard to blame him, however, given how dominant he was in those contests. He's the only edge in the class who boasts run-defense and pass-rushing grades over 90.0. He racked up 31 pressures in his final five games this season after knocking off the rust. Perkins has a ton of juice behind him and wins often with his get-off. Listed at only 247 pounds, he has none of the concerns you usually see from undersized rushers. Arguably the most encouraging thing about his tape is that he wants to play a physical game."

The Athletic's Dane Brugler: "A three-year starter at Oklahoma, Perkins was the field defensive end in defensive coordinator Alex Grinch's multiple front, standing up or rushing with his hand on the ground. His 2020 season was disrupted by a six-game suspension for a failed drug test, but he started to heat up upon his return, producing 10.5 tackles for loss in only six games. With his length and heavy hands, Perkins attacks the chest of blockers, sticking, stabbing and keeping distance. He benefited from the Sooners' slanting attack, but he can hit his landmarks as a rusher and his play strength and pursuit keep him near the football. Overall, Perkins must develop his rush plan and arsenal of moves, but he uses his power and balanced movements to free himself from blocks and make plays. He projects as an NFL starter in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme."

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein: "Productive but undersized defensive end who might need to prove he can play standing for a 3-4 scheme. Perkins is tight-hipped and a very average athlete with production coming thanks to his hard-charging motor as well as Oklahoma's slant-heavy defensive front. He's tough but the lack of bend has a distinct impact on his anchor and contact balance at the point of attack. Despite some physical deficiencies, he plays with forward focus and the attitude to go find the football. There are differences of opinion in the NFL scouting community regarding his NFL potential, but the lack of traits and functional quickness are challenges that could limit him."

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