NAME: Ronnie Perkins
POSITION: Defensive End
WEIGHT: 247 pounds
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Ronnie Perkins attended Lutheran High School North. During his senior season of 2017, he was named the St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro defensive player of the year. He would go on to take place in the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. 247Sports rated Perkins as a four-star recruit. The site also ranked him as the 57th best player in the country in his class, the fifth best defensive end and the second best recruit from the state of Missouri. He eventually chose Oklahoma over many other schools, including Georgia, LSU and Texas.
Upon joining the Sooners, Perkins played in 14 games during his true freshman season of 2018. This included seven starts in the final eight games. Perkins totaled 37 tackles, and led the team with five sacks. Subsequently, ESPN named him a freshman All-American. The following season, Oklahoma started Perkins in all 13 games before the postseason. Due to a failed drug test, he was suspended and unable to play against LSU in the Peach Bowl following the season. Perkins finished 2019 with 38 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. The suspension carried over into 2020, which saw the defensive end miss the first five games. Perkins played in the final six Oklahoma games, starting five of them. He totaled 23 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Perkins was named second team All-Big 12 in both 2019 and 2020.
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Perkins comes with a healthy amount of juice when rushing the passer. He is not necessarily a true bender around the corner. But, Perkins gets up the field and takes noble angles to get to the quarterback. His strides are short, but extremely effective. His solid agility and footwork show up immensely using a bull rush to get vertical. Elsewhere, Perkins showed he can move fluidly when coming from outside to inside against offensive tackles. His ability to find a second gear of acceleration is a benefit for a player of his frame. He’s got a dense upper body, but lighter lower half. Meanwhile, Perkins displays a tremendous motor and effort to finish and catch players from behind.
Perkins does a good job of controlling his gaps. Due to sneaky good power and strength in his hands, he can set himself up for multiple stops. A lot of his effort, is the reason why he made so many stops. However, Perkins has the ample tackle radius to get a hand on the ball carrier, despite the play appearing out of reach. He largely appeared to show patience when setting the edge and not getting too far upfield. In the meantime, Perkins has proven that he can continually take the correct angles to stay on top of the play. More impressively, he usually does not get confused on run plays involving zone reads or read-action at the mesh point.
Read And React Ability
Piggybacking off of that last sentence a little more, Perkins is always aware of where the ball or play is going. His awareness shows up the most, because of his excellence in keeping his eyes up. I would not say Perkins is slow to reacting to plays in front of him. That speed and acceleration is used immediately when he can move vertically. But, that patience from Perkins is also an asset. Teams will be encouraged with his mix of range and lateral mobility to go along with how he can process plays.
Pass Rush Counter Moves
The stout hand strength is there. Yet, Perkins has struggled with stringing together pass rush moves. Club and rip moves are the few that he is more comfortable with. Getting Perkins to trust in those more often will be a focal point at the NFL level. Overall, the defensive end will need to work on generating more counter moves for plays that become elongated. Landing an initial push or punch is more of a minor issue. But when plays are strung out, Perkins tends to quit moving his arms or hands. This can lead to offensive tackles getting under his pads and shoulders. As a result, he tries to push back with his core strength. The lower half strength is lacking too much to rely solely on that, though.
Hand To Hand Combat
His ability to explode and accelerate can lead to Perkins making stops with a hand on his chest. At the same time, there are many reps where he has to get restarted after blockers latching on. Oklahoma attempted to move him around on occasion to help hide this. Nonetheless, Perkins is just not as advanced in this area. Especially when facing blockers that are more active with their hands and punches, he will have to work to create a wider plan of attack.
Plainly, Perkins can play a bit too top heavy. He runs at an angle where his chest becomes forward-leaning. Not being able to dip and bend around the edge, the Oklahoma product does display some stiffness in his legs and hips. Therefore, Perkins can rarely rely on using a lower center of gravity or any real leverage. Fine tuning that rush plan with coaching will further lead to more consistent results. Additionally, Perkins presents a well built frame that could make that a smooth transition.
Kansas City appears to be placing speed as an obvious priority when adding defenders this offseason. For Ronnie Perkins, this will be no issue. He does not have any problems in controlling his explosiveness or acceleration. Moreover, the defensive end is a natural fit in a 4-3 scheme like Steve Spagnuolo‘s. Coach Spags also loves to utilize aggressive defenders. With the defensive coordinator’s ability to capitalize on multiple blitz packages, Perkins could be a natural fit in the Chiefs’ pass rush. Kansas City needs to see more consistent results when pressuring the quarterback. And this particular player, has shown that he can go on a tear and produce solid production at a high clip.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs draft prospect profiles throughout the winter and spring. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.