Bryce Perkins excited about competing for backup QB job with LA Rams

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Virginia’s Bryce Perkins eyes for his pass during the ACC Football Championship Game (Photo by Albert Dickson, the ACC).

Before the NFL Draft began last Thursday, former Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins thought he might end up in Los Angeles with the Rams. He had talked to the Rams more than any other team and even thought they were going to draft him.

While that didn’t happen, the Rams were eager to sign Perkins to a free-agent deal. Now it’s up to Perkins to do the rest.

“I have to just keep working, learn the playbook and make sure that I can stay on top of my game and stay on top of the playbook,” Perkins said in a telephone conversation from his home in Arizona. “I have to make the most of the opportunity.”

Perkins, who became UVA’s all-time total offense leader in a mere two seasons, also had conversations with the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans, and believed that he also had a chance to be drafted by those two clubs. He also talked to the Baltimore Ravens, but it was understood that if he was signed by the Ravens it would be a free-agent deal.

Now he will report to camp, whenever that opens, to fight for a job on the Rams’ roster. He will be fighting for a spot to back up starting quarterback Jared Goff.

Perkins will battle against former Wake Forest quarterback John Wofford, who signed as an undrafted free agent with the Rams a year ago, and newly undrafted free agent Josh Love of San Jose State. All things considered, there is an excellent opportunity for Perkins to make this roster — and possibly win the back-up job — because of his versatility.

At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, and a reported 4.5 time in the 40, Perkins is a weapon with his legs as well as his arm. He rushed for more than 1,600 yards in his two years at UVA.

If any NFL coach can find creative ways to use Perkins, it would be Los Angeles coach Sean McVay, widely recognized as an offensive genius. For instance, Perkins could be used not only in a back-up role for Goff, but could be inserted the way New Orleans used another former Bronco Mendenhall quarterback, Taysom Hill, last season as a “wildcat” runner, or to line up as a receiver out of the backfield.

Perkins didn’t have a lot of conversation with McVay, but rather the team’s offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, a former NFL quarterback.

“[O’Connell] liked my versatility and how I grew as a passer over the years,” Perkins said. “He thinks I can be a good addition to the team, and not only have a chance to make the team but to be a piece of the No. 2 spot behind Goff.

“[O’Connell] said he’s going to coach me like hell and give me a chance to develop my game. I’m excited to learn from him and Sean McVay.”

There’s a good chance that Rams general manager Les Snead saw Perkins play at Virginia. Snead’s son, Logan, was a preferred walk-on linebacker, although he’s no longer on the Cavaliers’ squad.

“That’s what [Les Snead] was saying,” Perkins said. “I was trying to figure out if I was there or not when his son was there. [Les Snead] was saying he really liked me and expressed great interest.”

The fact that his home in Arizona isn’t too distant from LA is a bonus.

Could it be that Perkins has another bonus in that his father, Bruce, and his brother, Paul, both played in the NFL (Paul is a current free agent who played with the New York Giants), as it gives him an edge in terms of knowing what it takes to make a roster?

“I think so,” Bryce Perkins said. “Just seeing how everything works, not just with my brother and dad, but seeing guys who weren’t drafted and how it played out … going undrafted, making a team, going to camp, things like that.

“Training camp is going to be a battle and I’m ready for it. Seeing that my brother and knowing my dad went into this, are great motivators for me to make the roster.”

Perkins wasn’t drafted, but like former teammates Jordan Mack (Panthers/free agent) and Joe Reed (Chargers/drafted 5th round) and Bryce Hall (Jets/drafted 5th round), he just wants to make the most of the opportunity.

“I was hyped for my guys, and I’m sure there will be more to come,” Perkins said. “I’m sure someone will grab Hasise (Dubois). You don’t have a season like he did, not dropping a pass all season long, and not get a shot.”

Perkins was definitely excited when he saw that Reed will be playing in the same town with the Los Angeles Chargers.

“That made it all even sweeter,” Perkins said. “I called him and we were talking about getting a place together but where our two teams practice are too far apart. But we’re for sure going to be cooking in LA and hanging out a lot.”

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