Nick Perry And What’s Next For The Packers In 2012 NFL Draft All Green Bay Packers All the Time
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.

There’s also the issue of Perry going on the record at the NFL Combine about preferring to be in a 4-3 defense.  Now that’s he’s been drafted by a 3-4 team, will Perry accept the change of positions? Judging by his post-draft press conference, Perry seemed fired up to play in Green Bay and said he was looking forward to forming a formidable duo with Matthews.

One quote does not a draft pick make.  It will definitely be interesting to see what Perry can do on the field.

With Perry now officially the leader of the Packers’ 2012 draft class, what do the next two days hold for the defending NFC North champions?

Thanks to the recent release of Chad Clifton and Nick Collins, offensive tackle and safety are some of the bigger holes on the Packer roster.  Thompson still has 11 picks to use but thanks to how thin the team currently at both positions, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Packers filled both positions by the start of the fourth round.

The Packers also likely could be looking to draft their center of the future. With Scott Wells gone in free agency, the Packers did sign Jeff Saturday but at 36 he only has a few years left and Thompson would be wise to draft Saturday’s heir apparent so the new player can learn the ropes behind one the best centers in recent league history. Peter Konz from Wisconsin (both the university and the state he grew up in) seems to be a popular choice here.

A backup quarterback is also another need thanks to the departure of Matt Flynn to the Seattle Seahawks. Could we see the Packers draft yet another former Badger and have Russell Wilson in Green Bay to back up Aaron Rodgers?  Wilson is considered somewhat of a hidden gem in the draft so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him gone earlier than expected, but Wilson in Titletown would be a dream scenario for fans inside Wisconsin.

Finally, a cornerback could be coming as well.  With Charles Woodson nearing the end of his career and/or possibly being moved to safety after Collins’ release, the team would be wise to draft a player to add to the Packer secondary. Sam Shields regressed and Jarrett Bush is by no means a shutdown corner, so the Packers need another player opposite Tramon Williams who needs to step up as well.

Overall, drafting Perry is a good start but the later rounds are where Thompson really begins to shine.  He stockpiles draft picks like no one else in the league so seeing some trades out of Green Bay is to be expected.  No one except Thompson knows what he’s going to do and that’s part of the allure of all seven rounds of the NFL Draft.

So the message to Matthews has been sent: the cavalry is on the way.  The draft has only begun.  This is Thompson’s Christmas, so Packer Nation would be wise to just sit back and watch one of the best drafting general managers in the league work his magic and suddenly reload the Packers for another run.

By the time Sunday rolls around, fans will have a pretty good idea of what the Packers will look like heading into training camp.

The 2012 season is officially underway.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for 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


48 thoughts on “Nick Perry And What’s Next For The Packers In 2012 NFL Draft

  1. I hope Perry isn’t another Aaron Kampman as in good pass rusher/4-3 DE, but didn’t fit in D Capers D. Does Perry fit the possition better then Kampman? I guess in TTs eyes he must

    1. We will have to see. Capers remembers Kampman so I don’t think he views in Perry in the same mold.

    2. Perry, just needs to lose the 15 pounds he put on for the combine. He was the player I wanted all along. GO PACK GO!

  2. Is there a S left who could come in and immediately start? The top 2 S are gone and its a weak class this year. Peprah is bad but is a so/so rookie any better?

    1. I think it will be Peptah-Burnett to open the season. Any draft pick brought in would be putting pressure on Peprah. Maybe he just needs to be pushed a bit. I don’t think there are any safeties left who would be a week one starter in my opinion

      1. MD Jennings is going to push peprah for play time.. If he doesn’t outright take the job during camp, he’ll be stealing reps from Peprah here and there, and starting by game 8.

        THat’s my prediction.

          1. That’s true- in fact, Burnett was an absolute beast inside the box in college.

            Either way, I see Peprah making space for Jennings to get on the field.

    2. I’m not sure there’s a safety out there worth taking altogether. Very weak safety class. Everyone available have serious holes to their game. Maybe a project can become very good in 2-3 years, but certainly not for this year.

      As for Perry/Kampman, difference is big between a 22 year old rookie and a 29 year old vet who’s been in the same position for 8 years.

      It’s much easier to make changes when you’re young, and this goes for everything in life, moreso in a place where you get the best preparation and all the incentives to make the change.

    3. The safeties worth going after in third to forth round are Menzie or Blanton, though it is believed that DeQuan Menzie is on the rise

  3. One word to describe the Pack’s #1.


    Another wasted high draft pick.

    If TT wasn’t so good at shopping at the thrift stores, this franchise would be a mess.

    1. …”If TT wasn’t so good at shopping at the thrift stores, this franchise would be a mess.”

      Yup, you’re right on the money. Instead of being a mess, the Packers won a superbowl in 2010, and have been strong candidates to play in (even favored to win) the Superbowl in 2009 and 2011, as well as an (admittedly early) favorite for 2012.

      Simply put, your comment implies that you wear grease paint for makeup and when you blow your nose or sneeze, it makes a “HOOOONNNNKKK!” sound.

  4. I think people are making too much out the fact that Perry played with his hand down. I’m sure TT looked into and is comfortable with him standing up.

    1. I agree but it can be a tough transition for a rookie in year one. Long term I have no doubt he’d be fine

    2. Many scouts talk about Perry having the talent and ability to play all over the front 7 dependent on quality coaching.

      The fact that he put on about 20 lbs. of lean muscle (played at about 250, weighed in at the combine at 271) in the span of time from his final game to the combine suggests he can mold his body to fit the role as need be. (Perry, this morning said when he started training for the combine, he “couldn’t stop gaining weight”, which is fine considering it was all muscle weight, and he STILL ran a sub 4.6 40 at 271).

      He might not even be primarily playing at OLB. THe Packers might end up using him as an interior rusher in nickle, an OLB on passing downs from base, or even as a end… I think even the Packers don’t necessarily know where he’s going to be most useful quite yet.

  5. I wonder if the Perry pick gives more substance to the possibility of the hybrid 3-4 that Brian suggested a few months ago:

    I’m skeptical that any other rookie safeties are out there and capable of producing this year.

    Why don’t we put Bush at S? He’s much better facing the ball than being at CB. I think that’s a better stop gap than anything, unless I’m missing something.

    1. I would agree with Brian too. The Packers could very well be moving towards a hybrid defense. It would open things up for Capers’ creative mind. I forgot about that possibility

    2. I’m on record predicting an unbalanced 3-3-5, Perry with his hand on the ground in one end, Matthews standing up in the other.

  6. I am hoping to see us trade our 4th rounder to move up in 1 of the next 2 rounds. Lets grab Trumaine Johnson in the mid 2nd round or a slipping DT like Billy Winn or Brandon Thompson in the 3rd. Wouldn’t be shocked to see us take O-line on Friday if Konz, Glenn, or Adams slide.

    1. I’d be on board with that. Protecting the franchise (Rodgers) should always be a top priority

    2. I’m with you on Trumaine Johnson, that kid was born to be an uber aggressive big CB in GB’s attacking man to man defense! Plus he can learn from the master for a year or two and he gives GB an ace in the hole to compete with Megatron and Brandon Marshall for the next 5 years!!!

  7. A bigger than average corner or a safety with potential to develop is the need. Maybe Capers is going to adopt the Parcels theory. In todays’ game you don’t need to play two safeties. Three corners on the field at all times. One slight concern – the corners must be able to tackle.

    After tha potential at virtually every position would be acceptable.

    1. Add a Middle Guard (I know I’m old you don’t have to remind me) to backup Raji. Maybe it’s going to be Muir but it looks like there may be some raw talent available in the middle rounds.

      History – the first 300 pounder I remember was a guy named Les Bingamin (Lions) and they called him the middle guard in the 5 man front.

  8. Just saw a post linking Colt McCoy to a Packer 6 or 7 pick. That excites me, as a year or two of QB school could really propel him; and the experience that he does have would make him a better fill-in than a rookie if the unthinkable happens.

    Ditto the trade-up’s. I’d like to see the 12 picks turn into 9: OLB (done); 5T; Safety; Center; CB; RB; DT; and another safety. Draft a QB if we can’t get McCoy.

    Holmgren sure is stupid! IMHO.

      1. Sometimes I think the players are taken along slowly on purpose. It’s for the right reasons obviously, but I think it makes things look worse than they really are to fans. Does that make sense?

        1. I can’t make sense of anything because I’ve had at least 5 concussions in my childhood (true story!)

  9. Perry was not my favorite. The more I watch, however, the more I guess I will trust that TT/Capers and KG know he can do it. As for rounds 2/3, I hope they make a move to trade-up to get either Worthy or Reyes for the Dline. Happy to dump the 2/3/4 for one of those guys. There are no safeties worth trading up for at this point. Will most likely use a 3rd or 4th(comp) pick on a development. If the pass rush improves, so will the secondary. MD Jennings may give Peprah a run for his money this year. If House can become the dime back, maybe a move of Bush to S is worth a shot. He is a good open field tackler. He just stinks finding the ball with his back to the QB. GoPack!

  10. I don’t believe we found our OLB and can hear the weight scale rising as Perry puts on the lbs and gets moved to DE as the lack of real effort from the mental side ala Kampman,limits his over all contributions.When this kid shows up at rookie camp and or training camp at 28o+,the writing on the wall will be clear.Unless he comes in at 265 or less to handle the every down stamina for the OLB we need,I’ll sense no real interest to do so.
    Things could have been worse…Upshaw
    Things could have been better..Curry
    TT,get another OLB this draft after you get a true DL guy.

    1. Perry played in the 250s. He put on a bunch of weight training for the combine. He will drop back to the low 260s and play OLB with aplomb. Mark my words.

  11. Tarynfor12, I’m with you. I think trading down (if possible) and getting Curry in the early/mid second would have been better. I have always thought he was a better prospect than Perry. Less stiff, not as straightline fast but more agile in my opinion. GoPack!

  12. Nick Perry is an upgrade, thats all we have to know and love. You gotta have more than one player who can actually beat one on one blocking and GB just got another guy who can do that. Teams won’t be able to block the opposite CM Jr. side with RB’s all year and get away with it! Who knows maybe Ted’s not done adding pass rushers and Perry can actually split his time from hand down DE to stand up OLB…

  13. I think the board and roster is tilted for Ted to make a move up into the 44-48 pick area for a targeted defensive player tonight, but what do I know. A CB or a DE would really make me sleep better. I’m super high on CB Trumaine Johnson but worried that Johnson might be “superhigh” right now:) Also, Jerel Worthy,Devon Still,Kendell Reyes,Brandon Thompson,Jared Crick, or Derek Wolfe would all be upgrades over J.Wynn,M.Neal,CJ Wilson or the guys I refer to as the “clown car posse”. Come on Teddy you don’t need 12 rookie picks plus a handful of Undrafted guys, NE might want to deal out of their pick at 45 as they have zero picks in rounds 3 thru 7.

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