Perez – who sat out his entire draft year recovering from his left knee injury – was North's third and final selection in the 2019 AFL National Draft, rounding out an action-packed night for the club.
"Emotionally, it's pretty tough at the start. As a 17-year-old, you think the worst – that's your draft chances done," Perez said.
"But I had a few good people in my corner and a few recruiters reach out to me to reassure me I wouldn't be forgotten, without guaranteeing anything.
"That just gave me the drive to put my head down and do my rehab as well as possible."