Why the Slide?: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

This series was created in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

The 2022 NFL Draft was known to not be a strong year for interior defensive line prospects, but one prospect who flashed during the pre-draft process was Perrion Winfrey. While Winfrey was uneven at times for Oklahoma, he dominated the Senior Bowl, putting together a superb week of practice. Winfrey showed interior pass-rush potential, and that is a tough commodity to find. As a result, there were many projections of Winfrey going in the top two rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft, but he ended sliding to Day 3.

NFL sources told WalterFootball.com there were huge off-the-field issues with Winfrey, which is what caused his slide. Teams were worried he could have positive tests and suspensions in the pros. They also did not like his inconsistent play where he was a huge liability against the run and really struggled as a run defender in college. Between his makeup and inconsistent play, Winfrey’s slide was not surprising to team sources.

The Cleveland Browns ended Winfrey slide in the fourth round, and they a mixed landing spot for thim. On the positive side, Winfrey would have Myles Garrett on the edge, leaving Winfrey with plenthy of single-block opportunities. However on the negative side, the Browns organization has had problems working with players that have off-the-field issues. Strong personalities have worked their way out of Cleveland. The Browns needed an interior pass rusher, so Winfrey landed in a good playing-time opportunity, but it will be up to him to mature, become a professional, and improve his run defense to play up to his massive potential and have a NFL career.

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