What the Experts are Saying about Nick Perry, Packers First Round Draft Pick

New Packers OLB Nick Perry - NFL Draft Photo

Was Nick Perry a hit or miss with the draftniks?

The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft is history.  As you probably know by now, the Green Bay Packers selected USC DE/OLB Nick Perry with the 28th overall pick.

If you’ve been surfing the web this morning, you’ve probably read some opinions on the Packers’ selection from members of the Green Bay front office as well as draft “experts” from many media outlets.

If you haven’t read them yet, or you just want to come to one place to see many of them, here they are below.

Packers GM Ted Thompson:

“He played with his hand on the ground, but we’re convinced he’s athletic enough to play standing up and do some of the things we do. He’s a very physical guy.”

“Tremendous physical specimen. He runs a 4.5 or something like that. At the end of the day, thought he’d make a nice addition to our outside linebacking group. Believe he’s athletic enough to stand up. He can rush the passer.”

“He’s very sharp,” Thompson said. “Very good person. Alonzo (Highsmith, a Green Bay area scout) was the group leader in his group at the combine and said he was very genuine, very good with other players, that sort of thing.” (29 Wonderlic)

Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers:

“We’re very excited about Nick Perry. Tested extremely well at the combine. He’s an explosive player. He had good production at a high-level of competition at USC. It’ll be a little bit of a transition, but that’s not new to our defense. He certainly has the size and power to convert that into rushing the passer. We think he’ll be able to make the transition for us.”

“”There will be a transition,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “He has played with his hand down more than he has standing up. But that’s not uncommon for us in this defense. The first thing we look for is a guy’s ability to rush the passer.”

“The number one priority is can you come off the edge and he ran in the 4.5s for a guy coming off the edge. We’re seen him be very physical on lineman. He has good hip flexbility. Some of it will be a learning process, but that’s not uncommon with these guys.”



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.