Packers select USC’s Nick Perry
By Tyler Dunne, Journal-Sentinel
~Green Bay — A pair of USC Trojans may anchor the Green Bay Packers pass rush. With the 28th overall pick, the Packers took Nick Perry.
Perry made waves at the NFL scouting combine and showed an elite burst off the edge in college. Now, he’ll get a chance to be the Packers’ right outside linebacker. His senior year, Perry finished with 54 tackles, 9 1/2 sacks and 13 tackles for loss.
“I don’t think there are many guys his size who run a 4.5 with a 38 1/2-inch vertical jump,” Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “So he has explosive ability.”
As noted here, Perry had success against top competition, including Stanford’s Jonathan Martin. His natural bend around the edge appeals to teams and should be a major asset to Green Bay’s sagging pass rush. A year ago, Green Bay finished 27th in sacks. The defense auditioned several players at the position throughout the year but never found an answer.
In Perry, maybe the Packers will be able to apply pressure from both sides. The 6-foot-2, 271-pounder admitted at the Combine that he was more comfortable as a defensive end. With good coaching, the Packers must feel confident they can help him adjust to linebacker. He flashed rare athleticism in Indianapolis. Perry ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds, benched 225 pounds 35 times and had a 38.5″ vertical leap. No other 3-4 prospect had such a complete showing.
In comparison to other pass rushers in the draft, Perry made more big plays. In addition to his 9.5 sacks, he also had three forced fumbles. A month ago, we took a look at his game here.
“You always hope that through competition that guy will surface,” Capers said. “Nick will come in and we’ll throw him right into the competition of things and we’ll see what he can do. …We think he has the potential to do that and be that guy we want on the edge.”
The Packers had to be sweating the pick out. Beginning with West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin at No. 14 overall, a run of pass rushers began. Green Bay’s division rival, Chicago, scooped up Boise State’s Shea McClellin at No. 18. But Perry and Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw both slipped all the way to the Packers and general manager Ted Thompson had to make a decision.
Just as he did in 2009 with Matthews, Thompson turned to Southern California for a pass rusher. Maybe Perry gives the Packers the lift they need defensively.