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.