Bronco: NFL Combine, college all-star games made a mistake in snubbing QB Perkins

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Bryce Perkins scrambles away from Virginia Tech’s Chamarri Conner on a first-quarter touchdown run in November (Photo by John Markon).

Bronco Mendenhall said that the NFL Combine and college all-star games’ collective snubs of former Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins was a mistake.

Perkins, who transferred to UVA from Arizona Western Community College, broke the school’s all-time, single-season total offense record while leading the Cavaliers to their first-ever ACC Coastal Division title and a spot in the Orange Bowl as a dual-threat quarterback. 

The Arizona native compiled 4,307 yards of offense over 14 games in 2019, including 3,538 yards passing and 769 yards rushing.

While Mendenhall acknowledged that dual-threat quarterbacks usually aren’t the “primary type” of quarterback invited to the NFL Combine, there have been exceptions in the past. At least one NFL general manager told the Virginia coach that potential Combine invitees need to get a certain number of votes to qualify for an invitation.

Perkins was short of that number, which was a surprise to Mendenhall in light of the quarterback’s body of work.

“I think the NFL, quite frankly, missed and missed badly in not inviting [Perkins], as well as the all-star games,” Mendenhall said. “I think [the all-star games] missed and missed badly.”

Mendenhall said he knew of at least three NFL teams that have “real and sincere interest” in Perkins.

“Anyone who currently has a mobile quarterback as well as a dynamic athlete at quarterback, every one of those teams are glad [Perkins] wasn’t at the Combine or invited to having the exposure some others are having,” Mendenhall said.

“[Those NFL teams] are hopeful that [Perkins] is under the radar, as far under as possible,” Mendenhall added.

Perkins has been in California working out to prepare himself for the NFL, working to improve his skill. With many schools cancelling their “pro days,” where NFL scouts and others observe players go through an assortment of physical drills, players that weren’t invited to the combine will miss that last chance to impress NFL clubs.

Mendenhall said he doesn’t feel that’s as big a deal as some claim.

“How you played during the season is No. 1,” the coach said in terms of how he believes players should be evaluated. “Nothing is more important than that. I still don’t think the combine or pro day should override performance on the field. [Pro day] is just one more opportunity to possibly influence.

“I think missing those will have less impact than what one would think.”

Perkins will be talking to Virginia media on Tuesday to update fans on what he is doing to prepare himself for his football future. Former teammate cornerback Bryce Hall, whose season ended due to an ankle injury in a game at Miami, will also talk to media.

We will have stories on those interviews Tuesday evening.


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