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NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Ohio State LB Joshua Perry

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Perry would provide the Patriots immediate value at linebacker and on special teams.

Joshua Perry would be a great fit for the Patriots, the question is will he be available?
Joshua Perry would be a great fit for the Patriots, the question is will he be available?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The draft has plenty of viable options in the 2nd round for the Patriots to pick up a linebacker. Another option would be Ohio State's Joshua Perry. Perry is the best pure fit for the Patriots defense at the LB position in this draft class, although he's constrained to ILB duty for the most part. The one trait the Patriots like in their LBs is experience as an edge rusher. While I highlighted that fact in the Scooby Wright post, the Patriots have also draft pure off the ball LBs such as Jerod Mayo in 2008.

Perry is a physical downhill linebacker who would immediately slide in at middle linebacker and would allow for the Patriots to get creative with Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower in passing situations. Perry has similar measurables to Collins in terms of size, although Collins is likely a more explosive athlete. I do expect similar speed and agility numbers out of Perry with slightly less impressive explosion numbers.

Perry wound up recording 105 tackles and 7.5 tackles for a loss in 2015 on a defense littered with future 1st rounders. Perry is a steady and consistent contributor that was overshadowed by likely first round pick Darron Lee at the LB position, but is good in his own right. Perry was one of the few seniors on that Ohio State defense and was voted team captain before the 2015 season, something Bill Belichick loves with his linebackers. He's not just a one-year wonder, racking up 124 tackles and 8.5 for loss in 2014 as part of Ohio State's run to the National Championship.

If the Patriots manage to draft Perry in the 2nd round of the draft, whether they have to trade up or not, I will be the happiest fan on Earth. It will likely cost the Patriots one of their two 3rd round picks to trade up into Perry's range, because I have him as a Top 40 prospect in this draft. Whatever team drafts him will be very happy with him in both the short and long term. I project Perry as a Early 2nd round grade and a Late 1st round value, although a strong combine could make Perry a consensus first rounder.