Peria Jerry made the Rebel defense tick last season, making an impact on nearly every defensive play. Even though there were several plays a game that I didn't notice him, when I re-watched each game the next day, Peria Jerry was a wrecking ball. When you have a defensive tackle who can get into the backfield on every play and make a difference, you've got something really special.
Jerry is essentially a Tommie Harris clone. Many of you may remember Harris from his years at Oklahoma. Coaches could not comprehend having a player with that speed and size at defensive tackle. Six years into the league, Harris is a three-time pro-bowler and a two-time all-pro. Jerry is the same way. He's a program changing defensive lineman whose run-stopping shouldn't be undersold but excels at breaking up the pocket and pressuring the quarterback.
Now, just as Ghost has, I have explored the (inter)globe to find out where the experts (ha) believe he'll end up.
Best Case Scenarios: Indianapolis, Denver
Indianapolis, I think most agree, would be a phenomenal place for Jerry to play pro ball. With their penchant for drafting players who are slightly smaller than prototypical but possess all-worldly speed, Indy is a perfect fit for Peria. If you could design an Indy Cover-2 defensive tackle, you would be hard pressed to design a better player than Jerry. He can eat up blockers, but he also provides yet another pass rushing threat to an already deadly system. Imagine Jerry on the right side of the line with Freeney at DE on the left. Domination. Also, it would be good for Peria to play somewhere with a good situation to continue winning. While Indianapolis certainly has holes to fill, and Peyton Manning won't play at this level forever, the team is well built through the draft, and if the Colts ever pursued it, free agents would flock there.
Denver is an interesting situation right now for Peria. The biggest reason this would be a good situation for him is because he would be picked, probably, at eighteen here, where as Indy's pick is 27th. Most pundits see the Broncos trading up with their twelfth overall selection to get Mark Sanchez at eight. If that happens, look for them to take a defensive lineman at 18 (since they've been talking all year about how their front seven is porous). Jerry could very easily be their man. While not an NFL nose tackle Jerry provides the skill set that Denver is after, and his leadership capabilities could be a big asset in the locker room, something that Josh McDaniels really values in defensive players.
Worst Case Scenarios: Tampa Bay, Tennessee
First I'll go with the less controversial pick and talk about Tampa Bay, and why I put them here. Tampa Bay's defense is quite good, so many may wonder why I have them here. Here's the thing: their offense is pretty bad, and losing Jeff Garcia for Byron Leftwich doesn't help matters. Also, their stellar defense is on the decline. Ronde Barber is 34. Derrick Brooks is 35. Sure, Barrett Ruud and Gaines Adams are both performing well, but it takes more than three good defensive players to make up for a poor offense. It's not that I would be terrified if Peria went to Tampa Bay. The franchise isn't terribly run. It's just the worst of the ones I've seen that could take him.
Now... the Tennessee Titans. Look, I know they're good, and I know a lot of Ole Miss fans are also big Titans fans. I really like to watch them as well. I have a few beefs with this franchise though though. First, the market is pretty bad. I mean, Albert Haynesworth was the best defensive lineman in the league last year, but you only heard about him when the Titans were playing. Also, the Titans just aren't in a great situation to continue winning. They've got millions of dollars invested in an offensive player who they never use (Vince Young) and don't really have any true threats on offense outside of Chris Johnson (who is excellent). Again, I don't want Peria to play for a team with a good defense but no offensive presence. Lastly, and most importantly, the Titans pick 30th. The difference between the 30th pick and the 18th pick (Denver) is millions and millions of dollars. I want our players to get paid, and I don't think many can argue with that.