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”
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. Follow @KrisLBurke