Pro Football Focus is doing a very cool series called, “Secret Superstar” – going through each team and choosing one under the radar player that’s flashed major ability. For the Washington Redskins, PFF chose Perry Riley, 3rd year ILB who really flashed greatness towards the mid/end part of Washington’s 2011 season. Earning his first start against the Miami Dolphins in week 10.
The coaching staff loves everything about Perry Riley, and was ready to start him week 1 last season, however the lockout kept Perry from accomplishing that. Hence the decision to re-sign Rocky McIntosh to a 1-year contract. When Riley received his opportunity in week 10, he didn’t disappoint.
“He (Riley) comfortably out-performed McIntosh, ranking fifth among linebackers in run stop efficiency (12.6 Stop% with 26 stops) behind the great Ray Lewis. Grading green in this area in five of his eight starts, his only negatively-graded performance came in the Week 16 Vikings game in which nearly the whole defense struggled. His undeniable success has cemented his starting role next year alongside Fletcher.” – Pro Football Focus
I’ve been following Riley since his freshman season at LSU, and if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that he’s a complete animal. He’s always around the ball. He’s explosive and has a knack for sniffing out plays in the backfield. The guy has a bright future and could be yet another late round Shanahan steal.
One area Riley will work on developing this off-season is his coverage ability. With help from the captain, London Fletcher, Riley has to continue working on his ability to flip his hips and cover receivers/tight ends. As PFF said, “only so much can be expected from Riley in his first set of career starts, but this is clearly an area he will need to improve in with Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, Tony Romo, and Michael Vick looming in the division.”
This guy has what it takes to be one of the better ILB’s in the league. One underrated quality about Riley is, he’s a natural leader. His energy and explosiveness will benefit the entire defense.
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