When the Packers open training camp, we will hear plenty about Nick Perry making the shift from a hand-on-the-ground college defensive end to a stand-up NFL outside linebacker.
No doubt, there will be plenty of adjustments that Perry needs to make as he transitions. But don’t let that fool you, Perry is the player the Packers want to rush the quarterback opposite of Clay Matthews.
There is no need to be overly concerned about Perry not yet being a well-rounded OLB. The Packers should focus most of their efforts on making Perry the best possible pass rusher that he can be. What deficiencies he may have in pass coverage or other areas can be developed over time.
If Perry turns out to be the pass rusher the Packers think he can be, the other aspects of playing OLB will come to him. Meantime, Dom Capers can create sub packages and scheme as necessary to maximize Perry’s talents and mask the undeveloped portions of his game.
After Perry and Matthews, things get interesting at OLB.
The Packers brought Walden back even though he disappeared down the stretch last season after getting arrested. Most people have written Walden off, but I say not so fast.
There’s a reason the Packers brought him back. If they didn’t think he was any good, they wouldn’t have resigned him. I’m not saying Walden is going to be a breakout player, but don’t immediately dismiss him.
He’s had his moments with the Packers, including three sacks in the 2010 season finale and a two-game stretch before getting arrested last season where he totaled 15 tackles and a sack.
Bringing Walden back was a good decision. If he plays like he did before the arrest, the Packers have a solid depth player. If he looks finished, the Packers can just cut him and move on with their lives.
This year’s buzz player, Moses made everybody take notice of him during OTAs. His 20-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill times at the combine were better than Perry’s, and he was a very productive college player.
Ted Thompson seems to always find an undrafted free agent or two that sticks around. A few even make a major impact (see Sam Shields in 2010).