ESPN arranged to have cameras in Malcolm Perry's family home in Clarksville, Tennessee on Saturday. The record-setting former Navy quarterback was also asked to be available for a live virtual interview if necessary.
That's because Perry was the highest-rated prospect from a service academy and the network wanted to tell that story during Day 3 of the NFL Draft.
The Worldwide Leader in Sports bet correctly as Perry was picked by the Miami Dolphins with the 246th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Perry watched the NFL Draft in the living room of his family home along with his parents, Malcolm Sr. and Bonnie, both of whom are United States Army veterans. ESPN flashed to the Perry home in time to catch Malcolm answering the phone call from Miami general manager Chris Grier. Savonna Perry jumped off the couch and gave her brother a big bear hug while other family and friends cheered loudly.
"I'm just extremely grateful the Dolphins were willing to take a chance on me and give me an opportunity. I'm ready to get to work," said Perry, who also spoke to Miami head coach Brian Flores after being drafted.
Perry did not hear much from Miami during the pre-draft process and admitted it was "sort of a surprise" that franchise drafted him. He had an advocate within the organization as Mike Judge, who spent 11 seasons as fullback coach at Navy, just completed his third season as a quality control coach for the Dolphins.
Perry caught up with Judge during the East-West Shrine Bowl week and thinks the former Navy assistant advocated the Dolphins' decision-makers on his behalf.
"I'd like to think so. I talk to coach Judge a lot, especially down at the East-West Shrine Bowl. He was always a big help for me when he was at Navy. We had a pretty close relationship," Perry said.
Perry becomes the 17th Naval Academy graduate to be selected in the NFL Draft. Only three Midshipmen were chosen from 1965 through 2014. However, Perry becomes the third Navy product picked since 2015, joining long snapper Joe Cardona (New England Patriots) and quarterback turned wide receiver Keenan Reynolds (Baltimore Ravens).
Perry, like Reynolds, was a record-setting quarterback in college who will be asked to make the conversion to wide receiver at the professional level. He was invited to the NFL Combine as a slot receiver and also practiced then played that position at the East-West Shrine Bowl.
"Super happy for Malcolm! He always put the team first his entire career, and now to be rewarded with getting drafted by the Dolphins is awesome!" Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "No one more deserving!"
Navy offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ivin Jasper was responsible for developing Perry at the collegiate level. Jasper said he watched every second of the draft from noon until Perry was picked just prior to 7 p.m.
"I sat here all day long. I was going to be here for every pick," Jasper said. "I wanted to make sure I saw it live when Malcolm got picked because I had a feeling he would."
Jasper had been watching the NFL Draft with his wife Donna, who left the room just before Perry was picked by the Dolphins.
"I was by myself when it happened and when I started screaming my wife ran back in here," he said. "Obviously, it was some emotion, and a few tears, and just relief -- because I know how much this means to Malcolm."
Jasper said he texted Perry with the words "congratulations and get your butt ready to go."
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said on the national broadcast that Perry "is one of the easiest guys you can root for in this entire draft."
"He's going to need some polish as a route-runner, going to take time to develop as a receiver," Jeremiah added. "(Perry) will probably find his way as a third down back, which would be his best opportunity.
"You know when you get the ball in his hands, good things are going to happen."
ESPN host Trey Wingo made a major gaffe by stating the Dolphins had picked "Malcolm Perry, the quarterback at Army," and noted it was an "intriguing pick."
Many NFL general managers and player personnel directors view Perry as a Swiss Army knife player somewhat in the mold of New Orleans Saints multi-position standout Taysom Hill. Perry, like Hill, could line up at slot receiver, in the backfield on third down or as a wildcat quarterback.
Jason Bernstein, an agent with Clarity Sports International who is representing Perry, believes the Dolphins offer a great opportunity. Miami struggled to establish a ground game last season and did not have a back rush for more than 250 yards.
"Malcolm is excited about going to Miami and he's ready to get to work," Bernstein told The Capital via text on Saturday night. "Couldn't be a better situation for him down there."
Perry excelled as both a slotback and quarterback in Navy's patented triple-option offense while amassing 4,359 rushing yards, second all-time behind Reynolds. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound speedster finished with 40 rushing touchdowns, which ranks fourth in program history.
As a senior, Perry set a Football Bowl Subdivision record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 2,017 and scored 21 touchdowns. He ran for 100 yards or more in 11 of 13 games, setting another single-season school record.
"A lot of what Malcolm accomplished was because of his God-given talent," Jasper said. "The NFL is full of elite athletes. What Malcolm does that you can't coach is what elevated him to that status. We all as kids dream of playing in the NFL. For Malcolm, that dream is going to come true and I'm just so happy for him."
Perry also showed the ability to return kickoffs and punts while piling up 5,320 all-purpose yards, which ranks second in program history behind legendary tailback Napoleon McCallum (7,172, 1981-85), who played in the NFL with the Los Angeles Raiders.
NAVY'S NFL DRAFT PICKS
Following is a list of Naval Academy graduates selected in the NFL Draft:
-- 2020 -- Malcolm Perry, WR, Miami Dolphins, 7th round (246th overall)
-- 2016 -- Keenan Reynolds, QB, Baltimore Ravens, 6th round (182)
-- 2015 -- Joe Cardona, LS, New England Patriots, 5th round (166)
-- 1993 -- Bob Kuberski, DT, Green Bay Packers, 7th round (183)
-- 1986 -- Napoleon McCallum, RB, Los Angeles Raiders, 4th round (108)
-- 1973 -- Glen Nardi, DT, Pittsburgh Steelers, 16th round (414)
-- 1964 -- Roger Staubach, QB, Dallas Cowboys, 10th round (129)
-- 1962 -- Greg Mather, E, New York Giants, 14th round (194)
-- 1961 -- Joe Bellino, HB, Washington Redskins, 17th round (227)
-- 1959 -- Bob Reifsnyder, DE, Los Angeles Rams, 4th round (45)
-- 1958 -- Tom Forrestal, QB, Baltimore Colts, 20th round (237)
-- 1956 -- George Welsh, QB, Chicago Cardinals, 16th round (186)
-- 1956 -- Ron Beagle, E, Chicago Cardinals, 17th round (197)
-- 1948 -- Dick Scott, OC, Chicago Bears, 13th round (133)
-- 1947 -- Bob Kelly, HB, Green Bay Packers, 10th round (81)
-- 1947 -- Bob Hoernschemeyer, B, New York Giants, 11th round (94)
-- 1947 -- Jim Carrington, OG-DG, New York Giants, 28th round (264)
The following Navy football players did not graduate from the academy:
-- 1998 -- Mike Wahle, OG, Green Bay Packers, 2nd round (Supplemental Draft)
-- 1995 -- Kevin Hickman, TE, Detroit Lions, 6th round (186)
-- 1994 -- Max Lane, OT, New England Patriots, 7th round (168)
This article is written by Bill Wagner from The Capital, Annapolis, Md. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.