On Wednesday night, the Las Vegas Raiders traded for Carolina Panthers linebacker Denzel Perryman in exchange for a sixth-round pick. He has been a massive presence on the Los Angeles Chargers defense for the last six seasons.
Perryman is best known for his run-stopping abilities. With the Chargers, he played both middle and right inside linebacker. He was a leader in the locker room and the team's play-caller on the field. The Raiders needed help at the position, and trading for Perryman was a low-risk move.
What Perryman will bring to the Raiders
#1 - Perryman fills a void left by the Raiders' injuries
The Raiders recently lost Nicholas Morrow to a foot injury, who was supposed to be their on-field play-caller on defense. But with him sidelined, Perryman will take over that role. He will help improve the Raiders' run defense that ranked 23rd last season.
Although he's a solid run-blocker, Perryman has never been a playmaker in the passing game. But having Cory Littleton next to him will offset that weakness. Littleton is agile enough to cover the short passing game, which will take the pressure off Perryman, who can focus on running backs and slowing down mobile quarterbacks.
#2 - Perryman has experience and familiarity with Gus Bradley
The Raiders brought in former Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley this offseason. Bradley has coached a top-ten scoring defense twice in his NFL career. During his time with the Chargers, the team's defense led the league in yardage twice. Perryman played under Bradley during his time with the Chargers, which will make the adjustment easier.
Perryman will reunite with former teammate Casey Hayward Jr. and linebacker coach Richard Smith.
#3 - Perryman is a solid tackler on a team that misses tackles
Last season, the Raiders led the NFL in missed tackles with 143. Perryman only missed one tackle during the 2020 season. He's averaged 55.6 tackles in his last three seasons, and that's despite missing 12 games.
Another thing Perryman's presence provides is his pass-rushing ability. He didn't rush the quarterback all by himself during his time with the Chargers, but his presence allowed the team to bring more pressure to the line of scrimmage with other defenders. The Raiders didn't blitz much in 2020, and that's because they had to keep their linebackers in coverage.
Perryman's addition will allow the Raiders to be creative on defense. Their defensive unit finished with just 21 sacks a year ago. They need to improve on that to compete against teams in the AFC West.