A.T. Perry says he was told ‘character stuff’ led to his draft-day fall to Round 6
@Saints you won’t regret this
— 9 (@atorian_perry) April 29, 2023
One surprise pick by the New Orleans Saints in the 2023 NFL draft was Wake Forest wide receiver A.T. Perry — not because he’s a bad fit, but because of where he was drafted. Perry was a consensus top-100 pick in this year’s draft class but he fell to the sixth round, where the Saints traded up to pick him.
There aren’t many receivers with his production available that late in the draft. After catching 71 passes for 1,293 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2021, Perry followed up with 81 receptions for 1,096 yards and 11 scores in 2022. Take that with his size (6-foot-3 and 202 pounds) and speed (timing the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds, with a 6.81-second three-cone drill) and you’ve got what looks like a strong prospect.
“I was expecting to go higher, but some minor stuff got in the way of that. But hey I’m here now, I’m happy that you guys took me. I hope I’m going to make a big impact on the field,” Perry said during his introductory conference call with New Orleans media.
When asked if he could clarify that feedback from teams, Perry replied, “They said it was some character stuff, which kind of confused me. But there’s nothing I can do about that, the past is in the past. Let’s get going.”
Perry said he met receivers coach Kodi Burns at Wake Forest’s pro day and that he interviewed with the team during the NFL scouting combine, but that was the extent of his contact with the Saints before the draft. He wasn’t one of their official 30 visits to the facility in Metairie, and he’s only visited New Orleans once, when he was younger on a family trip with his parents. He’s eager to introduce himself to his new teammates and city.
“I’m kind of a quiet guy,” Perry chuckled when asked to describe himself and his character. “But when I get into a game I’m smiling and laughing, just out there having fun. Going out there getting a dub with the team. I love being around my guys, I’m a team-first kind of guy. Just going out there making plays and celebrating with each other.”
The Saints are suddenly deep at receiver after adding Perry and undrafted free agents Shaquan Davis (South Carolina State), Sy Barnett (Davenport), and Malik Flowers (Montana) to a corps that already included Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, Rashid Shaheed, Tre’Quan Smith, Keith Kirkwood, Kirk Merritt, Kawaan Baker, and Bryan Edwards. They usually only roster five or six receivers, so he’s got his work cut out for him in competing for one of those spots. But Perry has the talent to get it done. We’ll see how it plays out over the summer.
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