Saturday, November 7, 2020

Michael Dean Perry and Aaron Donald—Statistically Comparable

 By John Turney
In a recent Monday Night Football profile some Hall of Fame defensive linemen were asked to compare Aaron Donald to a player from their era and the name John Randle came up the most and stylistically and physically that makes the most sense.

However, Randle, in his 14-year Hall of Fame career only had 44.0 run stuffs (tackles for loss) a number Donald surpassed in 2018.  

Using basic numbers, a player that is more comparable as a combination run stuffer and pass rusher might be Michael Dean Perry. Of course, Perry is not the pass rusher Randle was or Donald is. Randle averaged 10 sacks a season in his career, and in his first six seasons, Perry averaged eight. Donald is averaging 13 per 16 games, an unheard-of number for a defensive tackle. But one thing to note is that Perry was quicker off the ball than either of those two—which is saying something given the takeoff of Randle and Donald.

Perry though, hurt a knee in 1990 and didn't get it repaired until 1992, he played on it for two years. Perry also had other injuries that hampered his production later in his career. Randle was relatively healthy and so far Donald seems indestructible. 

But consider the stuffs. Donald, in his first six seasons, averaged ten stuffs, Perry averaged eight per season in his ten-year career, including his rookie season when he was really only a third-down rusher and his last season when he was a role player, really. His "real" average was about nine stuffs a year. 

So, while we don't put Perry in Donald's class as a year-after-year consensus All-Pro, he was a consensus All-Pro twice and a First-team All-Pro three times, and a Second-team All-Pro one additional season. In all, he received post-season honors eight times in ten seasons. Not bad. 

Perry's career as a two-way defensive tackle is worth nothing we think. Here is a chart with his career numbers—


  1. Henry Thomas must have been thereabouts as well, if you ignore his last season when he was a part time starter, and that playing mostly on the nose. Severely underrated player by most, though i know you had him at no. 5 in your 'best nose tackles' list.

    1. I agree, Thomas had a great career as well. Perry did well and might get elected but it seems voters like tackles with over 80 or more sacks. This site is great at promoting how valuable run stuffs or tackles for losses really are ...

  2. John do you know how many times Mdp graded as blue at psi?