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

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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.”

“The basis of our defense starts with being able to threaten offenses from both sides,” said Capers. “You see us do a lot of things with our inside linebackers. A lot of their success is based on the type of threats you have on the outside.

“If you can threaten with both outside linebackers, it helps. We try to get an outside linebacker matched up on a back. We feel we ought to win that battle.”


Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com:

“I know they (the Packers) needed pass rush help, but Perry looked a little soft at times to me. Ted Thompson usually gets it right, but we’ll see on this one.”


John Czarnecki, FoxSports.com:

“Perry does have explosiveness and this was actually a value pick for general manager Ted Thompson, considering Perry wasn’t rated in the Top 20 with a lot of teams. … some scouts have labeled him as a little soft. Time will tell with this pick.”


Kevin Seifert, ESPN.com:

“At 6-foot-3 and 271 pounds, Perry is built more like a 4-3 defensive end in the NFL. But the Packers weren’t compelled to rule out players based on strict size and weight requirements, I don’t think, because defensive coordinator Dom Capers runs a versatile scheme that can emphasize strengths and cover for weaknesses.

No one is certain if Perry can cover running backs or tight ends in space, but Capers has the capacity to minimize those opportunities. We figured the Packers would have a choice of pass-rushers Thursday night, and it was just a matter of finding out which ones they liked. Perry probably wasn’t their top choice in that regard, but at No. 28 you don’t always get the opportunity to dictate. He’ll have every opportunity to be a key member of the Packers’ defense — and right away.”


Todd McShay, ESPN.com:

“Shows flashes of being an explosive rusher… has violent hands, he’s quick off the ball and his combine workout was outstanding. He’s going to get a lot of one-on-one opposite Matthews and will get an opportunity right away to contribute off the edge. This is a really good fit for Perry and for the Green Bay Packers.”


Wes Bunting, National Football Post:

“The Packers needed to improve their pass rush and Perry has the first step and explosion to reach the edge and create pressure. He’s a little stiff in the hips, but knows how to use his hands to fight off contact and runs well sideline-to-sideline. He should come in, contribute early and is a good value for the Packers at the end of round one.

NFL Ceiling: 10 sacks per year

NFL Floor: Never transitions cleanly to OLB and forced to catch on in a 4-3 front.”


Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News:

“The Packers had great success with one former USC pass rusher, Clay Matthews, so why not get another? Based on their eye for talent that fits their scheme, it’s no surprise ex-Trojan Nick Perry was the pick. Because Matthews does so much and draws so much attention, Perry’s transition to their 3-4 outside will be eased. Initially, Perry can focus on getting pressure off the edge one-on-one vs. tackles, mostly on third downs”


My thoughts:

Overall, it seems like the jury is out on this pick.  It wasn’t a home run, but it wasn’t a total failure either—that seems to be the consensus on the selection of Perry by the Packers.

However, no matter how much the above people and others talk, only one person controls Perry’s destiny in the NFL and that is Perry himself.   Not even the GMs can say with absolute certainty that each player they take will ultimately succeed.  The draft really is a total crapshoot.

So keep that in mind as you read about the draft this weekend. Grades will be assigned, but assigning them now is absolutely useless and borderline stupid.   This draft, like all others, should be graded in five years when all those selected have a chance to develop, not before they even play a single down in the NFL.

The Packers thing they have their pass rusher to complement Clay Matthews. Only time will tell if Thompson struck real gold, or just fool’s gold.



Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com.


  • Tarynfor12

    The NFL draft is as some say “a crap shoot” but taking Perry at 28 with hopes of transitioning to a OLB to a better than average type we have or don’t really,excluding CM3 of coarse,can be like needing to roll a hard 4,6,8….no snakes please but,crap shooters know better.This play was a PASS.

  • Bart

    Good point, Kris, about the wait-and-see approach. All I can say is that when you have a guy with the size, speed and overall athleticism that Nick Perry has, you FIND a way to make it work. I fully trust Greene and Capers to pull it off, or at least to bust their tails trying.

    • Oppy

      I’m starting to think that everyone’s jubilation over having Kevin Greene as our OLB coach may be more about personality than results.

      Um, we’ve all belly ached about not having anyone except Matthews who is a legit 3-4 OLB, and we’ve literally tried to mold about 8 other guys into the position… all failed experiments.

      Could it be talent? Sure, but the way people talk about Greene as a coach, he should be able to make a girl scout play at a pro-bowl level.

      I’m reserving my judgement on Greene as a OLB coach for another season or two.. At this point, he’s great on paper. Has the player resume’, great fire and passion, clearly loves the kids in his room.. But the results thus far are not, on the whole, in line with his resume.

      • Elle

        You actually have a point. It’s difficult to admit because he’s very likable and certainly brings passion and fire. But results are results. One could argue that Clay Matthews would be good with any coach.

        I, too, reserve judgment, since all of the other OLBs have been relatively less talented and low-round picks. However, there is simply no evidence that Greene is, objectively speaking, a great OLB coach.

      • ELo

        While my guess is that Perry will contribute and thus improve our defense, I have to agree with you Oppy. Greene was a helluva player, but I would have expected us to get more out of the LB crew we’ve had than what we’ve seen. I would expect Green to be a great motivator, raise the intensity, and hold guys accountable, I haven’t seen that play out on the field.

  • Oppy

    So, now that I read this, I suppose I should redact (maybe retract?) my comments that I think even the Packers don’t know where Perry should line up yet..

    But I’m sticking with it- remember when the Packers swore that Bulaga was a LT?

    I think the coaching staff is going to be using OTAs and Training camp getting a feel for this kids’ body and ability, and for the next year, maybe two years, really pinpoint where he’s best utilized.

  • Ron LC

    Excluding the Packer coaches, the term “draft experts” is a dctionary definition of the word oxymoron. To be truthful it would be more accurate to leave the letters p-r-and e off.

    Obviously, these guys haven’t watched very much film on him. He explodes off the line and beats the blocker before he can react. When he does contact the blocker he disengages by pushing his opponent back and beats him on the inside. I have no concerns that he will come in and have an immmediate impact on the D.

    Experts indeed! Just like McGinn and his “fairy god scouts.”

    • Oppy

      Did McGinn perpetuate some great wrong against you at some time in your life? 😉

      • Ron LC

        yep – he’s using my air! 🙂

        • Oppy

          Dom capers is using my Hair.

          • Ron LC

            you make my day Oppy – keep it coming!

  • DWhitehurst

    While I do NOT think Nick Perry will turn out to be a “bust” like former Packers pick Jamal Reynolds, nevertheless, a Packer fan can’t help but temper their enthusiasum with a “wait-and-see” attitude regarding Nick Perry, given how eerily similar Perry is to Reynolds on paper, that is, when it comes to size (Reynolds was 6’3, 260 to Perry’s 6’3, 270), style of play (straight line speed rushers off the edge), and noted strengths (both have exceptional upper body strength) and weaknesses (both were tight in the hips/lacked lateral agility) coming out of college. Granted, Reynolds had the knee problem which never healed right/couldn’t overcome so it might not be the fairest comparison, but still, I myself am taking a wait and see approach as to whether or not Perry can become a ‘complete’ OLB (e.g., covering TE’s). At very least, he should be able to be a pin-the-ears-back speed rusher off the edge, with the size/upper body strength to not get rag-dolled so much by the OT he will face. This itself is something we haven’t had for ROLB. So at worst, we have more pass rush help for 3rd down. But if that’s all he turns out to be, it wasn’t worth a first rnd pick. Can only hope that Kevin Greene can coach him up. We’ll just have to ‘wait-and-see’.

    • Oppy

      You’re missing a vital piece of the equation when comparing Nick Perry to Jamaal Reynolds:

      Jamaal Reynolds was drafted to play DE in a 4-3 scheme.

      Nick Perry has been drafted to play as a 3-4 OLB, perhaps a 3-4 DE from time to time, and perhaps a 3-4 inside pass rush DT in nickle packages.

      As with all draft picks, I agree we’ll just have to wait and see, and I also fully agree that if it turns out all Perry can do is be a 3rd down edge rusher, he will not have been worth a 1st round pick.

      But ultimately, I think your comparison between the two is not a fair assessment based on the position/scheme issues I listed above.

      • Ron LC

        Well said Oppy – these guys or others like them undoubtedly criticized the CM3 pick and let’s not forget the bitching after TT picked AR instead of the receivers Brent wanted.

  • Ruppert

    Pretty depressing bunch of comments. The guy has to change positions. Nobody on earth knows how it’s going to go. I’m happy we addressed the need.

    Seems to me Kevin Greene was a much better OLB coach when Cullen Jenkins was getting pressure on the QB, though. I still want to see a DL in at least 1 of the next 3 rounds.

    Love the Jamaal Reynolds comparison, too. We need a safety…are we taking Bhawoh Jue tonight?

  • Neal R

    I read all your posts and here are my thoughts:
    There is an old saying — you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken ______. Kevin Greene can only do so much as our LB’er coach. I think he’s a solid LB’er coach and will only get better.
    I’m fine with the pick of Nick Perry. Time will tell if he’s the answer to our pass rush problems, but last year’s problems were more than just Cullen Jenkins departure, in my opinion. No doubt — we missed Jenkins. But sometimes I get the feeling Packer fans think Jenkins was Reggie White.
    TT should focus on safety, “O” line, DB, “D” Line, and RB in rounds 2 and 3 tonight. If we can get two good players at any of those positions tonight, it’ll be a good thing.

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