Alabama Safety Nick Perry Could Be Next Undrafted NFL Gem


The Ravens have a history of unearthing diamonds in the rough as undrafted free agents.

Bart Scott, Dannell Ellerbe and Priest Holmes all came to the Ravens after getting passed on by every team in the draft. More recent examples like wide receiver Marlon Brown, kicker Justin Tucker and offensive tackle James Hurst are evidence of the Ravens digging deep to build their 53-man roster.

A potential option to emerge from this year's crop of undrafted rookies is former Alabama safety Nick Perry.

"He's going to be one of those free-agent guys that are going to have a future in this league," Ravens Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said.

The Ravens have a recent track record of keeping undrafted safeties. Brynden Trawick is in his third year with the Ravens and Omar Brown spent two seasons in Baltimore.

Perry wants to join that group and prove Pees right.

"I have all the respect for Coach Pees, and for him to say that motivates me that I'm doing my job and that I'm making an impression," Perry said. "Now I just have to keep working and get better each and every day so I can make sure he's not wrong."

Injuries have also made the Ravens somewhat thin at the position, as Matt Elam tore his biceps and could be out for the season. Terrence Brooks just came off the physically unable to perform list Tuesday after recovering from a knee injury. The Ravens now have six healthy safeties on the roster, which is the same number they had for much of last year.

Perry is currently listed as third-string safety on the depth chart, but he's started to get some notice for his play recently. He picked off backup quarterback Matt Schaub during the open practice at M&T Bank Stadium and intercepted third-string quarterback Bryn Renner in practice this week. Pro Football Focus graded him the Ravens' third-best player in pass defense in the preseason opener.

"I'm just trying to make plays," Perry said. "That's the thing that [Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt] has said about playing in the NFL. You have to make plays. Everybody here can play. Everybody here is smart, intelligent, and can do their job. But it's all about making plays, getting turnovers and flying to the ball. I'm just trying to show the team and the coaches that I can be that type of playmaker."

The 6-foot-1, 211-pound defender also fits the physical mold of what the Ravens want at the position.

The Crimson Tide have a solid track record of putting safeties into the professional ranks. Ha-Ha Clinton Dix and Mark Barron were Alabama's starting safeties before Perry, and both of them were first-round picks.

Perry started last year at Alabama, finishing with 80 tackles, six passes defensed and two interceptions.

"Nick is a typical prodigy of [Alabama Head Coach] Nick Saban," Pees said. "He is a defensive back that's tough and smart, and he really does a great job back there."

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