Denzel Perryman was born and raised in the Miami area where he attended Coral Gables High School.
As a junior, Perryman was named the Area Defensive Player of the Year after accumulating 166 tackles, nine sacks, and six interceptions. He followed up that stellar season with an even better one, totaling 177 stops, 12 for loss, nine sacks, and nine interceptions with five of them being returned for touchdowns.
Perryman chose to stay close to home and attend the University of Miami. He earned playing immediately and his first starts of his career, notching eight in 12 games. As a true freshman, he finished with 69 tackles, 6.5 tackles-for-loss, a sack, and two forced fumbles. As a sophomore, he started all nine games that he played in, recording 64 tackles and six tackles for loss. He was named a Third-Team All-ACC honoree for his efforts.
Following his junior and senior seasons, Perryman was named to the First-Team All-ACC squad twice, totaling 218 tackles, 14.5 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles. His final season in Miami also saw him named a Third-Team All-American, as well.
After being drafted by the Chargers in 2015 with the 48th-overall pick in the second round, Perryman went on to start 9 contests and play in 14 games total. He finished with a career-high 73 tackles, eight tackles-for-loss, and a pair of sacks.
Denzel Perryman's hip mobility and ability to come to balance prior to contact lends itself to some killer hits. One of my favorites. pic.twitter.com/0HI2dbdIli— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) November 2, 2016
His second season saw a similar performance with 72 tackles, another eight for loss, two sacks, and his first NFL interception.
Over the next three seasons, Perryman started six, nine, and 10 games respectively. His totals through that span were 156 tackles, seven tackles-for-loss, two picks, and three pass breakups.
Years with team: 5
“Denzel Perryman signed a 2 year, $12,000,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $4,050,000 signing bonus, $4,900,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $6,000,000. In 2020, Perryman will earn a base salary of $1,000,000 and a roster bonus of $762,500, while carrying a cap hit of $7,512,500 and a dead cap value of $6,450,000.” - Spotrac.com
Perryman came out of the University of Miami with the reputation as a “headhunter”, meaning he was always trying to go for the big hit or “take the opponent’s head off.” His physical style of play was a welcomed addition to the defense that lacked an alpha mentality.
What a shot from Denzel Perryman on Ozigbo. Ball is recovered by the #Chargers but what a hit by Perryman. The team will need him to make plays like that this season. #NOvsLAC pic.twitter.com/uAZlXQf9vx— Fernando Ramirez (@RealFRamirez) August 18, 2019
His best play in recent memory came against the Atlanta Falcons when Perryman stepped in front of a pass intended for Julio Jones that won the game for the Chargers in overtime. That was the same year the Falcons went to the Super Bowl so it’s a great memory to look back on.
The biggest red flag with Perryman, as it has been with a number of other Chargers players, is his injury history. In five seasons, the former Hurricane has played in double-digit games just three times and he’s never played in 16 games in any given season. That’s obviously ideal for a former second-round pick who was supposed to be the leader in the middle of your defense.
At 5’11, Perryman’s length and lack of speed just isn’t ideal in today’s NFL. All you have to do is look at rookie Kenneth Murray Jr. whom the Chargers just drafted to see what a modern day NFL linebacker looks like. Against divisional rivals, all of which just added plenty of speed, Perryman just doesn’t have the chops to keep up with the talent as of right now.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?
Denzel Perryman will make the Chargers’ final 53-man roster as a member of their newly-stacked linebacker rotation. He’s always been their starter at MIKE, and he may begin the season there, but there’s a chance Murray will overtake that job in the near future. If he stays healthy, he’ll see a fair amount of snaps. If not, this is probably his final season with the Bolts.