Atlanta Falcons Draft picks
Round 1...#24...Peria Jerry DT Mississippi
6' 3" 312 lbs.
Strengths: Agility, quickness, hands, consistency
Weakness: Strength, technique
Ole Miss DT Peria Jerry blew up last year as one of the best defensive tackles (DT) in the SEC, and considering Chiefs 1st round pick Glen Dorsey was still around, that’s saying something. After battling injuries that kept him from making an impact as a frosh and sophomore, Jerry finished the 2007 season with 14 TFL, good for 6th in the SEC, and 3.5 sacks. To me, Jerry’s disruptive presence in the middle of the Ole Miss line made DE Greg Hardy a better player, not the other way around and that is still the case this year. Jerry is still a dominating force while Hardy has yet to recapture his past glory. Jerry was named Second Team All-SEC by the Associated Press and Rivals.com and Third Team by Phil Steele in 2007.
At 6’ 3” 312 pounds, Jerry is lightning quick and can be far too much for slower guards to handle and has enough strength to overpower centers. It’s not often DTs have their hands listed as a strength, but in Jerry’s case it is very much true. He has very quick hands, routinely getting them on opponents first and he is also excellent at using his hands to keep blockers off his legs. Jerry fights off double teams very well and a lot of that is in his ability to use his hands to great advantage. Combining quick, strong hands with an explosive burst and sudden first step makes him a dangerous playmaker in the middle of a defense. He has good speed and will chase after ball carriers.
Despite his ability to handle double teams, he is at his best as a three-technique and may be limited to that role as a pro. At not quite six foot three inches tall he might be limited to playing defensive tackle and might not have the girth to play nose guard or the height to play end. He lacks strength in his upper body, a very fixable trait, but he may not be able to add much weight for his height. He get’s nullified by stronger lineman when they get their hands on him and he is far better as a pass rusher than as a run stopper where he can be blown off the ball. He lacks pass rush moves but that too is fixable with work.
As a pass rusher, Jerry is deadly. He is the top rated senior DT because of his ability to make plays in the backfield and get after the QB. Where his problems lie is against the run and that’s what makes me unsure of him as a high 1st round pick. I’m just not sure he has the ability to add the weight and strength necessary to become sufficient in this area. His ability to get into the backfield overcomes a lot of this deficiency at the college level but pro teams will attack him early and often and will wear him down.
Talent runs in his family and he goes up against his massive brother in practice daily. His younger brother John Jerry is an impressive offensive lineman for the Rebels. John, only a junior, is 6’ 6” 350 pounds, played guard as a sophomore and this year has moved out to right tackle. John should be a guard in the NFL and unless he comes out as a junior, could be a second or third round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.
He (Peria) knifes through and gets to the ball carrier on a consistent basis and his production was fantastic this year. After 11 games he has recorded 42 tackles, 4 sacks and an impressive 13 tackles for a loss (TFL). At his best, Jerry is stout enough to stop the run and quick enough to rush the passer. For a 300 pounder that is impressive. His ability will be in high demand and he should be a 1st rounder come April. He plays big in big games and has excelled against two of the best offensive lines in the nation recorded 2.5 TFLs against both LSU and Alabama this season.
Round 2...#55... William Moore S Missouri
Round 3...#90... Christopher Owens DB San Jose State
Round 4...#125... Lawrence Sidbury DE Richmond
Round 5...#138 (from Rams)... William Middleton CB Furman
Round 5...#143 (from Raiders)... Trade pick to Cowboys
Round 5...#156 (from Cowboys)... Garrett Reynolds OT North Carolina
Round 6...#176 (from Rams)... Spencer Adkins LB Miami
Round 7...#210 (from Cowboys) Vance Walker DT Georgia tech