After nailing their first pick in the 2020 NFL draft the Dolphins also took some punts on developmental players, most notably Malcolm Perry. The former Navy QB was definitely not picked to be a quarterback on his new team, so where will he lineup?
Checking in at just 5’10” and 186 pounds Malcolm Perry’s not blowing anyone away with his size. His 4.63-second forty is ok. But what these numbers don’t show you is just how shifty and hard to tackle Perry is on the field.
Malcolm Perry is a ‘swiss army knife’
At a time when we’ve seen multi-faceted quarterbacks coming into the league, think Taysom Hill, and Lamar Jackson, Perry represents probably the opposite. A wide-receiver who can throw the ball really well.
In all probability, he projects as a slot receiver in the Wes Welker, Julian Edelman role. Maybe not an every down player, but a player you’re looking to get the ball to in space, so he can use his moves to make the big plays.
Despite playing QB at Navy, the best stats for Perry really aren’t his passing stats. With 4,359 yards rushing, and 470 receiving yards compared to his 1,311 passing yards, it’s clear he’s not your classic dropback passer.
He led college football in 10+ yard runs with 65. 65! That’s a staggering number. And while he didn’t face off against the best defenses in the nation every week, his versatility, ability to make defenders miss, and consistent, big play ability make Malcolm Perry interesting.
The roster depth in Miami is an issue
The problem Perry faces is there are a lot of players ahead of him on the depth chart. His most likely spot on the roster is as a receiver, where he will start camp behind DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Allen Hurns, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, Isaiah Ford, Ricardo Louis, Gary Jennings, Matt Cole, and Kirk Merritt.
If he were to be carried on the roster as a back he’d be behind Jordan Howard, Matt Breida, Kalen Ballage, Myles Gaskin, and Patrick Laird. We’ll leave Chandler Cox off this list as he’s solidly a blocking full-back.
Granted Perry’s skillset is very different from a lot of these players, particularly on the backs front. But given that teams generally will keep 6 receivers and 4 backs on the 53-man roster he faces an uphill battle just to get out of camp.
Given the hype surrounding him, he likely won’t make it onto the practice as he’s liable to be poached by a team with a weaker receiver room. His physique sets him apart from all of the other backs on the roster, but whether that’s really a positive is debatable.
Malcolm Perry’s versatility may, at the end of the day, be what keeps him on the roster. His ability to line up in the slot, or as a split back, given his shiftiness and great vision, gives him a skillset that the Dolphins clearly value given the continued presence of Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson.
Another area where Perry fits the mold the Dolphins are laying out is in his character and leadership. The son of parents serving in the Army, Perry has never had any issues with discipline or taking on the role of a leader having been promoted to starting QB of the Midshipmen as a Sophomore.
But being compared to Welker and Edelman is a tough place for a kid like Malcolm Perry to be in. Coming out of a smaller school like Navy comes with its own benefits like you can flash your talent more, and it’s negatives like you’re not truly tested.
I have a feeling that Malcolm Perry will hold his own in camp, and likely make the 53-man roster. Whether he lives up to the Welker/Amendola billing is a nice media talking point, but not one fans should pin too much hope on.
But for now, let’s cut the buzz and let the kid do his thing. He’ probably won’t match the buzz, but I think he’s gonna be a lot of fun to watch.