Selected in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons, defensive tackle Peria Jerry has been a jar full of disappointments starting with his rookie year. Set to become an unrestricted free agent, the Falcons are mulling whether or not to bring back the unproductive Jerry, and rightfully so.
When the Falcons selected Jerry, Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff envisioned a high-motor defensive tackle in the middle of their defense that would cause double-teams, thus allowing other players and linebackers to add more pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. Instead of causing double-teams and freeing up other defensive players, Jerry caused frowns and frustration in his five seasons with the Falcons.
In five years, Jerry has amassed a combined 67 tackles, 5.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 64 games. Just to compare to prove a point, the Green Bay Packers‘ linebacker Clay Matthews has a total of 245 combined tackles, 50 sacks, 23 passes defended and four interceptions in 69 games. Oh, and Matthews was drafted two spots after Jerry was selected at No. 26.
It is safe to say that not only did the Falcons miss their mark, but Jerry himself is nowhere near the production of what a first-round pick should be at this stage of his career.
With Jerry recovering from a posterior cruciate ligament knee sprain suffered in the season finale, the good news for him is that the injury doesn’t seem to be serious. He should be able to make a full recovery. The bad news is there is a high probability that Jerry will be searching for a job. Being 29 years old and a “bust” is not a good combination, especially for a Falcons team that got embarrassed defensively this season.
Jerry was also outperformed by a former third-round pick in Corey Peters, who was second on the team with five sacks. The Falcons will only bring back the former first-round pick if they can get a bargain on him. Other than that, the Falcons may be tired of being disappointed, as his jar is overflowing in the underachieving category at the moment.
With three defensive players set to become free agents this offseason, the Falcons will most likely evaluate their players before they make any decision on who to cut and who is worthy enough to stick around. Unless Jerry can put a lid on his jar and start producing, it seems as if his career with the Falcons may come to an abrupt end.