From time to time I would like to profile some little know players who could be of interest to the Jets as we build our roster into a Super Bowl winning squad. These players are not on the cover of draft magazines and don't have media following them around. Most are from small schools and garner little fan-fare but have talent and potential to be solid contributors on our team now and in the future.
I am a huge believer in finding late round picks and UDFA's that can contribute and in some instances become valuable contributors to NFL rosters. The list of UDFA's who have become stars is long and include Kurt Warner, Wes Welker, Priest Holmes, Drew Pearson, Antonio Gates, Jason Peters, Brian Waters, Jon Randle, Cameron Wake, James Harrison, London Fletcher, Adam Vinatieri and many many more. Players like these provide huge salary cap relief to a team (I will explain in more detail later) while sometimes outperforming other highly drafted prospects.
If I were a GM I would (in every trade I made) have the other team throw in a 7th round pick. In some cases it seems they are treated as throw away picks as compared to the great opportunity they provide. You can help fill out special teams cheaply and once in a while you may hit gold for a very low cost. For example:
The Jets selected Calvin Pryor with the 18th pick of the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, or about the middle of the first round. Calvin (by CBA guidelines) received a $4.55 million signing bonus, if he was selected earlier he would have gotten more; later a little less. All the 7th round picks in that draft received a signing bonus of $56,848; so for the price of Calvin Pryor you could have paid bonuses to eighty 7th round picks. So it behooves a prudent GM to get as many late picks as possible and (with good scouting) can reap huge rewards.
UDFA's are even more cost efficient in that you can only (by NFL rules) spend $82,000 in bonuses on ALL of the UDFA's you bring to your team and (also by CBA rules) must be given minimum starting salaries. So if you can find two 7th round or UDFA players a year who can contribute to your team, you can (after 4 years) have 8 players (15% of your roster) at minimum salary. After that you must resign them, if you wish, for more money. So....
That brings us to the player on this installment of diamond in the rough
OLB David Perkins from Illinois State 6'3 240 4.43/40 22 bench reps
2015- 69 tackles- 12 TFL- 8.5 sacks
2014- 64 tackles- 12 TFL- 8 sacks
He is almost the same size as (mocked to us with the 20th pick) Noah Spence only much faster (he has blazing speed) than Spence and the similarities don't stop there as you will see. Until his senior year in high school David played RB and LB where he dominated: 1,311 rushing yards and 15 TD's 103 tackles 22 TFL 8 FF 13 sacks as a junior. He was recruited by every major school but thought that tall RB's have short careers in the NFL so he switch permanently to defense and took a scholarship to Ohio st (same as Noah Spence).
Arriving at OSU he realized he was 2nd on the depth chart (as a freshman) behind Ryan Shazier (1st rd pick of the Steelers) and he would have to wait for two years to get time on the field. Because he wanted to play right away and youthful foolhardiness he transferred: not because of malfeasance or drugs but because of desire to play.
By all accounts David is a high character person and a hard worker in film study and the weight room. He is quoted as saying "I take pride of being a good person" and has dreams of (when done with his NFL career) "taking a average high school football program and turning it into a powerhouse".
He is quoted as saying "I think probably 80% of the game is mental, if you know what's going on and who is going to be where. If you know the offensive tendencies and really break down your opponent, you reduce the game to technique and effort".
To me that sounds like a kid who is well grounded and doesn't just rely on his physical abilities to get the job done. He sounds intelligent and hungry for an opportunity, someone who can be coached, will work hard and be a good influence (eventually) in the locker room. I really hope the Jets are aware and take a look at this kid; we have little to lose and plenty to gain.
I will try and bring to light other players like David if I can get enough time to do so. In the meantime please mention other players (below) who otherwise might slip through the cracks.
Thanks for the time.