Going into the 2012 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers had one thing on their mind, defense. After putting together one of the worst defensive seasons in NFL history, the Packers defense was in desperate need of some reinforcements and General Manger Ted Thompson was more than happy to accommodate by drafting USC defensive end Nick Perry with the 28th overall selection.
Perry is a big, athletic defender, who stands 6’2 and weighs 271 pounds. He is a skilled defender, who not only can pressure the quarterback from multiple positions, but he’s also stout against the run and athletic enough to occasionally drop back in coverage.
In three seasons at USC, Perry was a very productive player, spending most of his time at defensive end but playing a few snaps here and there as a linebacker. Even though he spent just two seasons as a full-time starter, Perry notched an impressive 21.5 sacks to go along with 29.5 tackles for loss, six passes defended, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Given his size, Perry is an incredible athlete, who shows a good burst off the edge and a very good ability to close on the quarterback. He also has a very good build and is particularly strong in his lower body, which will allow to hold the edge against the run in addition to being an edge rusher.
Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers should be quite pleased with the pick, as not only does he finally get a legitimate pass rusher to place on the opposite side of Clay Matthews, but Perry is also big enough to rush with his hand in the ground and maybe even inside as a DT in certain nickel or dime situations.
Overall, this was a great pick by Green Bay. Their porous defense was their undoing last season and likely cost them a chance of repeating as Super Bowl Champions, therefore, adding a player of Perry’s caliber is the first step in reloading for a run at a second Lombardi Trophy.