With a glaring need on the interior of the defensive line, the Las Vegas Raiders need to have Oklahoma’s defensive tackle, Perrion Winfrey, on their radar. Winfrey’s impressive athleticism and strength make him one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s NFL Draft class.
DT | Oklahoma | 6’ 3 3/4” and 303 pounds | Maywood, IL | August 15th, 2000 (21.5)
Perrion Winfrey started his college career at Iowa Western Community College, where he became a four-star recruit and the No. 1 JUCO player in the country for the 2020 class, per 247 Sports. He went on to play at Oklahoma and earned a starting spot almost immediately after stepping on campus, racking up 40 total tackles, 16.5 for loss, 6.5 sacks and 56 pressures in two years in Norman. Playing in the Sooner’s defense that used a lot of odd fronts, the Maywood, Illinois native primarily lined up anywhere between a zero- and three-technique.
- Was universally considered one of the biggest standouts at the Senior Bowl and was the MVP of the game
- Outside of short-yardage situations, he has a pretty impressive get-off overall with a quick reaction to the snap and good speed with his first three steps
- When bull-rushing, he has the strength to get extension to go along with the leg drive and aggressiveness to collapse the pocket
- He’s solid as the looper on stunts, his agility helps him gain ground vertically and stay tight to the offensive line while moving laterally
- Has shown the ability to develop a spin move as a counter, he has the athletic ability to execute it, he just needs to incorporate a chop and ice pick to clear the offensive lineman’s hands
- Pretty good motor as a pass rusher to get coverage sacks
- His get-off, pad level, leg drive and strength allow him to reset offensive linemen who don’t have a sturdy base against one-on-one blocks
- Also is physical at the point of attack which helps him overcome some of his technical flaws when taking on blocks against the run
- When slanting, he gains ground laterally and vertically with his L-step and has good agility and change of direction to help make offensive linemen miss
- If the called slant puts him out of position, he can redirect and has the strength to fight back against pressure and avoid getting washed down by the offensive lineman
- Against down blocks, he redirects his eyes and hands to the blocker coming to block him and has better timing and hand placement than normal, since he has more time to get his hands up, which allows him to get extension against down blockers
- He has the strength to shed blocks fairly easily when his hands are in the right spot
- As a tackler, he has no problems bringing down running backs in his gap, can make tackles with linemen hanging on him and has a knack for punching the ball out
- Snap to whistle type of player, he shows very good effort and deep angles in pursuit to help teammates on gang tackles or get clean up tackles
- Looks to rip the ball out as the second tackler in a gang tackle
Areas of Improvement:
- In obvious run situations, he’s slower off the ball than normal
- He needs to get his hands involved sooner as a pass rusher, he’s often late with his hands on just about every pass-rush move. Overall, he hasn’t shown the ability to “beat the hands, beat the man” and rushes with his hands down by his waist
- When bull-rushing, he has a habit of just ramming his head into the offensive lineman and seeing if he can overpower them, and his hands are wide when he does finally get them involved. This will limit him as a pass rusher at the next level if it doesn't improve.
- As the penetrator in line games, he can be more effective and win if he starts to finish with a violent rip move
- Against the run, he struggles to recognize reach and scoop blocks and with his lack of hand usage, he will often get sealed versus outside zone
- With his lack of technique when taking on blocks, he’ll struggle to hold his ground against offensive linemen who can match his pad level and strength at the next level or against double teams
- While he has the strength to get off blocks, his ability to shed is hindered by poor use of hands, and he could use a more violent rip move when slanting to get blockers off him
- Plays with reckless abandon overall as a run defender, he likes to just run into blockers and not recognize the play/where the ball is going
- Has a habit of leaving his feet when tackling in the open field while pursuing
NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 58th, 2nd round
After an impressive showing down in Mobile, the second round right might be too late to pick up Winfrey. While he does have technical flaws and plenty of elements of his game that need to be cleaned up, his combination of athletic ability and strength give the Oklahoma product one of the highest ceilings in this year’s draft class. Any general manager that uses the “bet on athletes” philosophy should have no problem spending a Day 1 pick on him.
A team that likes to have their defensive linemen slant/gap exchange should be extremely interested in him. Winfrey was deadly when slanting in college and that would help nullify his lack of hand usage or at least buy him some time to refine that part of his game in the coming years. I am a little worried about the minimal pass rush moves he currently has in his arsenal, but again, his athleticism is worth betting on that he’ll be able to figure that out down the road.
What do we need to know?
How long can he get away with bad technique/how long will it take him to refine his technique? There’s no doubt in my mind that Winfrey can have success in the NFL, but I’d be a lot more comfortable making a definitive statement if his hand usage was already up to snuff. The good news is that’s coachable, but he could struggle as a rookie — and potentially beyond — if he doesn't make a conscious effort to clean up his game.
Fit with the Raiders:
To me, Winfrey’s fit in Las Vegas depends on who else is on the board with the 22nd overall pick. If guys like Devonte Wyatt and Jordan Davis are available, which I think they will be, then I’d opt for either of those two as they are closer to complete products. However, if for some reason the Georgia boys aren’t available, then the former Sooner should certainly be in the mix. Unfortunately, I don’t see him making it to the 50s so the Raiders will likely only have one shot at him, barring any trades.
Schematically, new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham might want a defensive tackle who’s more disciplined and better at two-gapping. However, Graham’s calling card is that he’s flexible with his fronts so I won’t say that the scheme takes Winfrey off the board by any means. My previous statement just stems from what Graham had at the position in New York with Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawernce.
Lots to like here from Perrion Winfrey (NT):— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 22, 2022
-Good agility on slant to avoid contact from OG
-Comes to balance quickly & shows effort in pursuit
-Gets rewarded with a tackle and forced fumble
I’d like to see Perrion Winfrey (DRT) use his hands better to get off this block, but damn, it’s hard to find guys who can reset OL like this, especially with shaky technique— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 22, 2022
Perrion Winfrey (DRT) does it again!— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 22, 2022
Excellent motor to go get involved in the tackle and he rips the ball out for another FF
This is a great example of how Perrion Winfrey (NT) can overpower offensive linemen, especially if his technique improves— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 22, 2022
The center gets stepped on to help Perrion Winfrey (NT) out, but this is better UOH on the bull with the same power to get a sack— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 22, 2022
Love to see this from Perrion Winfrey (NT) as a pass rusher:— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 22, 2022
-Gets his hands up immediately & gets ahold of the C’s back shoulder
-Good strength to pull the C down & get his hands off
-Finishes w/ tight arm over & flushes the QB out of the pocket
When the slant goes to the play side, Perrion Winfrey (DRT) is hard to block— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 22, 2022
Good lord Perrion Winfrey (DLT)… pic.twitter.com/GBIB71G96R— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 22, 2022