Nick Perry And What’s Next For The Packers In 2012 NFL Draft

Green Bay Packers Draft Pick Nick Perry With Roger Goodell - NFL Draft

2012 Packers First Round Pick DE/OLB Nick Perry and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Can lightning strike twice?

Packers general manager Ted Thompson hopes so after selecting USC defensive end/outside linebacker Nick Perry with the 28th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.  For the second time in four years, the Packers used a first round pick on linebacker from Southern California.

The other pick? A certain Clay Matthews III, drafted in 2009.  Three years later, Thompson recognized his defense desperately needed another elite pass rusher to complement the Claymaker and once again took a player from USC.

Matthews has panned out very well for the Packers so far, so what does the future hold for Perry, who spent one season on the same team as Matthews at USC?

Well, to place Matthews-like expectations on Perry would be incredibly unfair.  No one expected the results Matthews produced in 2009 and since he and Perry played for the same college, some fans may be expecting Perry to duplicate Matthews’ rookie season.

Perry is a different player than Matthews.  Perry played with his hand to the ground, though Thompson said he wasn’t concerned about moving Perry to outside linebacker.  It’s easy to understand why Thompson feels that way, too.   Perry is a terrific pass rusher who has a good motor (not as strong as Matthews, but still decent) and explosiveness off the snap.

The concern with Perry is not his skill sit, but rather his size.  At 271 lbs., he looks like he may be better suited as a defensive end in a 4-3 defensive scheme rather than a 3-4 linebacker.  It remains to be seen what Perry’s coverage skills will be as the linebackers do play coverage in defensive Dom Capers’ scheme.

Capers has shown flexibility in his defenses, so he very well could limit Perry’s role in pass coverage.   Regardless, his presence and abilities hopefully will take some attention away from Matthews who was swallowed up by double and triple teams in 2011 thanks to no help from the other outside linebackers. Even if Perry’s stat line isn’t impressive, if he can get Matthews back in 2010 form it would be hard to make a case against the drafting of Perry.



NFL Draft Prospect Profile: DE/OLB Nick Perry, USC

USC DE/OLB Nick Perry

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: DE Nick Perry, USC

Player information:

  • Nick Perry, DE USC
  • 6-foot-3, 271 lbs
  • Social sciences economics major and Detroit, Michigan native.

NFL Combine:

  • 4.64 40yd dash
  • 4.66 20 yard shuttle
  • 7.25 3-cone drill
  • 124″ broad jump
  • 38.5″ vertical jump
  • 35 bench press reps

News & Notes:

A five-star recruit out of Detroit, Perry spurned his homestate Wolverines and Spartans to join Pete Carroll at USC. He made an immediate impact with the Trojans, notching eight sacks in a reserve role his freshman season. As a junior, Perry led the Pac-12 in sacks with 9.5. That performance gave Perry the momentum he needed to declare for the 2012 NFL draft, where he is likely to be a first-round pick. He has indicated that he’d rather play with his hand in the dirt as a 4-3 defensive end, but his pure athleticism gives him a shot at being an impact 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post): “Exhibits the first step to be a threat off the edge, however struggles to drop his pad level when flattening out. Plus, he doesn’t have much of a counter to his game at this point. Nevertheless, has some obvious talent and is a guy you would expect to start as a rush backer in a 34 scheme and be a productive threat off the edge.”

Dane Brugley (CBSSports): “Has very good first step quickness and does a nice job in space. Has the footwork, body control and fluidity to quickly change directions. Does a nice job elevating and getting his hands up to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage. Works hard to collapse the pocket with a relentless motor. Brings aggressive playing style on every snap and doesn’t quit. Lacks elite size and length; undersized and can be swallowed by larger blockers.”

NFL.com (Combine):  “…his impact playing the “elephant” position within Caroll’s defense as a freshman will encourage many teams to consider drafting him as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. As a sophomore and junior he continued to develop into an elite pass rushing prospect, and has the size and athletic ability to be successful working against NFL tackles at the next level. He is a physically put together athlete with a good motor and extremely uncommon balance, and has late first round value.”