The Dolphins concluded a busy third day of the 2020 NFL Draft by selecting offensive weapon Malcolm Perry out of the Naval Academy.
The 2019 AAC Offensive Player of the Year played all over the field for the Midshipmen, and arrives in Miami with a broad scope of potential jobs with the Dolphins. Versatility has been the theme of the on-field criteria for the offseason of Chris Grier and Brian Flores, but that's not the only box Perry checks.
"When a prospect starts off with traits like tough, smart and highly competitive, they're off to a very good start with important intangibles," writes NFL.com's Lance Zierlein. "[Perry was] elected by teammates to the highly-regarded team captain [role]. Has some slot receiver experience, hands catcher, low center of gravity enhances change of direction, stick-and-go wiggle to make first tackler miss and 20 career kick returns averaging 24.6 per return."
Perry's production extended far beyond special teams. During his four-year Navy career, Perry rushed for 4,359 yards and added another 470 as a receiver, averaging 21.4 yard per reception. He scored 43 scrimmage touchdowns, threw for 10 more and 1,311 yards through the air with 11.3 yards per attempt.
Even with the decorated stat sheet, Perry acknowledge the need to contribute on special teams. He played on both return teams at Navy and is spending the offseason working on his skill set on that side of the ball.
"I'm extremely comfortable [playing special teams]," Perry said. "I knew coming into the draft that that would be a big role for me, and it's something I've been practicing. I'm lucky enough to have some experience in college with special teams.
The 2019 season was far-and-away the best for Perry at Navy, a reward of the hard work he put in during the offseason.
"I had to become a more complete player," said Perry via NavySports.com. "I had to increase my knowledge of the offense. I had to get better at throwing the ball. I had to be a better leader."
Perry got better – a lot better. He joined Navy alum Keenan Reynolds as the only Midshipmen quarterbacks to rush for 1,000 yards in three seasons, and he did it in emphatic fashion. Perry ran for 2,017 yards last year, including 304 yards and two scores against Army.
"I've watched [Malcolm Perry] his whole career," Reynolds said in a NavySports.com piece. "His maturity level has really stood out this year. I'm proud of him and the way he's grown.
Perry grew up in a military family. The first to attend an academy, and the first to enlist in the Navy, Perry's parents are both Army vets.
"Malcolm is a lot like me," Bonny Perry, Malcom's mother, said on NavySports.com. "I don't do "well around unruly, undisciplined people. He was always talking about joining the Army as a kid."
Now a Miami Dolphin, Perry – via NavySports.com embodies the prerequisites to play his professional football under Brian Flores in South Florida.
"My parents taught me to work hard and be humble. I've gotten to the point where I've learned to accept [the attention]. But it's not something I want to bathe in. I'd rather not have it."