Nick Perry

Draft Grades: Green Bay Packers

As good as the Green Bay Packers looked at times in 2011, they had some significant holes to fill this offeason. Ted Thompson elected to stay quiet through most of free agency, but came up big with another strong draft class which should help in their quest for another Super Bowl title.

I was somewhat surprised to see Nick Perry still on the board at No. 28. While he would have benefited from returning to USC for another year, his raw talent is undeniable. Green Bay is the perfect place for Perry, who won’t feel the pressure to perform immediately. He will likely start from day one, but he won’t be the center of attention on a defense featuring Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk. It’s a great place for him to learn and develop, while also providing some immediate help.

Jerel Worthy could be a steal in the 2nd round, but we’ll have to see how the Packers use him. The Packers like oversized, space-eating defensive ends in their 3-4 defense, and Worthy is capable of filling that role. But he’ll need to stay in shape, because he’s just a few big meals away from looking more like a nose tackle.

I also like the selection of Casey Hayward, who could step into a starting role at some point this year. The 2nd round may have been early for Hayward, but the Packers needed to add an instant-impact player in the secondary.

Mike Daniels is more of a traditional 3-4 end, at least compared to Worthy. His upside may be somewhat limited, but he has the potential to provide some depth in the front seven.

Jerron McMillian was a reach in the 4th round. There was very little talent at the strong safety position in this draft and it felt like the Packers reached to add depth at a position of need. It’s an acceptable strategy in some situations, but the Packers got carried away with this one. Due to the lack of depth at the position he should make the final roster, but he’s a purely developmental prospect who offers little immediate value.

Terrell Manning could prove to be one of the great steals of this draft. He’s an explosive sideline-to-sideline linebacker who should excel at inside linebacker in Green Bay. The depth chart is crowded, so he may not see the field much early, but he definitely has a future in the league.

Andrew Datko has battled injuries which contributed to his fall the 7th round, but he’s well worth the risk at this point in the draft. The Packers will likely groom him behind Bryan Bulaga at right tackle.

I’m not as high on B.J. Coleman as some, but I can’t argue with the selection in the 7th round. He clearly has the measurables of an NFL quarterback and will have the opportunity to be brought along slowly in Green Bay. It’s a good situation for Coleman, and a nice opportunity for Green Bay to develop a prospect behind Rodgers.

Overall, this was one of the better draft classes in the league, something which is becoming common for Ted Thompson. Few GMs in the league understand the importance of finding value in the late rounds better than Thompson, who consistently plucks future starters from the scrap heap late in the draft.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012, Packers 1 Comment

Green Bay Packers select Nick Perry, Grade A

Nick Perry will be a difference maker from Day One for the Green Bay Packers. He remained on the board until the late 1st round due to questions about his NFL readiness, but he has the upside to be a dominant pass rusher at the next level.

In Green Bay, Perry’s deficiencies will be masked by his supporting cast, which eases the concerns some teams had about throwing him into the fire. I fully expect him to suffer some growing pains as a rookie, but I trust the Packers coaching staff to prepare him and use him in situations which will maximize his strengths. This was a great value pick, and will end up looking like one of the steals of the 1st round in a few years.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Packers Comments Off

Buffalo Bills interested in Courtney Upshaw?

Now that the Buffalo Bills have fully committed to the 4-3 defense – after two years stuck somewhere in between schemes – mock drafts are popping up all over the internet with the Bills linked to a defensive end.

The most popular choice seems to be Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw, who played a hybrid linebacker/end role for the Crimson Tide.

Upshaw has 1st-round talent, but would be a reach in the top 10.

While I certainly understand the logic behind the Upshaw/Bills connection, I don’t think he’s a great fit in Buffalo.

As much as I like Upshaw, he shouldn’t be in the top 10 of any draft board belonging to a team which runs the 4-3 defense. He can be an effective pass rusher in that system, but he struggles against the run. He simply lacks the strength to consistently shed blocks, especially when he’s lined up at the point of attack.

That’s not to say he can’t start at defensive end at the next level, but the Bills could get much better value at No. 10. As a defensive end, Upshaw compares favorably to a guy like Jabaal Sheard. He a solid pass rusher, and holds his own in the run game, but not someone you want to build your defensive line around.

If the Bills are committed to improving their defensive line in this draft, their best strategy may be to trade down. This isn’t a great class of ends at the top, but there are up to seven prospects who could warrant mid-to-late 1st round picks. The Bills could potentially slide back a few slots and still land a guy like Nick Perry or Melvin Ingram, both of whom fit into the 4-3 scheme better than Upshaw.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Bills 2 Comments

How Dolphins defensive switch impacts draft

The Miami Dolphins announced today that they will be switching from the 3-4 defense which Bill Parcells’ staff instituted, back to a 4-3 system.

It’s a surprising move considering GM Jeff Ireland has spent a significant portion of his career working under Parcells, and has been with a team running a 3-4 base defense since he and Parcells first teamed up in Dallas in 2003.

The switch indicates that the Dolphins are prepared to enter into full rebuilding mode, a process which could take up to three years. Transitioning from one defensive scheme to another is a difficult process, and it takes time to acquire the right personnel.

The one asset the Dolphins do have is depth in the front seven. They’ll need to reshuffle the lineup, but should be able to piece together a decent defensive line. The issue will be at linebacker. Karlos Dansby will return (at inside linebacker most likely), and Kevin Burnett may land in the starting lineup again by default (probably strong-side linebacker). However, the Dolphins will need to add another starter, preferably someone who is strong in coverage.

Depending on their confidence in Cameron Wake and Koa Misi’s ability to transition to defensive end, the Dolphins could target a pass rusher with their 1st-round pick. Nick Perry and Quinton Coples would be the most likely targets.

There is also an outside shot that the Dolphins could target Luke Kuechly with the 9th pick. The move would necessitate moving Dansby to outside linebacker, where he played early in his career with the Cardinals.

Ultimately it’s too early to tell which direction the Dolphins will go, but this shift in schemes could definitely shake up the draft. It will be worth keeping an eye on their transactions in the coming months to get a better idea of who has a future with the team, and who is being phased out.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Dolphins 3 Comments

Breaking down Nick Perry vs Jonathan Martin

It’s not often that we get to see a true one-on-one matchup of potential top-10 picks, but that’s exactly what we had this year when Stanford took on USC.

Stanford left tackle Jonathan Martin and USC defensive end Nick Perry were matched up throughout most of the game, and since you were probably focused on other things at the time (such as that guy named Luck), I encourage anyone interested to go back and watch them battle.

Perry kept Luck on the run for much of the game

While one might expect a matchup of potential top-10 prospects to be fairly even, it was anything but. Perry dominated Martin from start (literally, check out the first play) to finish.

In this game Perry exposes Martin’s biggest flaw: his lack of quickness off the snap. On roughly 60-70% of the snaps in which Martin drops into pass protection, Perry is already turning the corner or, at worst, setting up his rip move by the time Martin is getting balanced in his stance. By the time this happens, roughly one second after the ball is snapped, Perry’s already won.

Martin is a tough, physical lineman, however. He was able to slow Perry down on occasion, preventing any serious damage (Perry didn’t register a sack) but much of the credit really goes to Luck. His incredible pocket presence and quick release allowed him to narrowly avoid a rapidly approaching Perry on numerous occasions. With just about any other college quarterback under center, Perry likely racks up at least two sacks in this game.

While Perry held an obvious advantage in this matchup, it’s worth noting that on the rare occasion that Martin was able to get in front of Perry and engage him, Martin won every time. Perry lacked the strength to push past Martin, and was essentially taken out of the play.

After viewing this game, it solidifies my opinion that Martin is better suited to play right tackle, or maybe even guard. Perry projects as a starter at the next level, and an above-average pass rusher, but he’s hardly an elite prospect. If Martin is struggling with Nick Perry, what will happen when he’s faced with Julius Peppers, Jason Pierre-Paul or DeMarcus Ware?

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Nick Perry scouting report

Nick Perry DE USC #8
Ht: 6’3″

Wt: 250

Adequate size and strength. Explosive off the snap. Has a powerful rip move that, when coupled with his speed off the edge, makes him a dangerous pass rusher. Decent athleticism for his size; able to change direction relatively quickly. Strong lower body, able to generate a decent bull rush. Does a nice job keeping his eyes in the backfield and making adjustments. Has played with his hand off the ground on occasion, and dropped back into zone coverage at times. Had some of his best games vs top opponents, most notably against Stanford (vs Jonathan Martin).
Somewhat overaggressive at times; goes full speed ahead into the backfield on most plays, putting him at risk of getting beat when opponents run the ball to his side. Struggles to shed blocks once he’s engaged; needs to win off the snap to be effective. Suffered a knee injury in 2010 preseason. Missed time in 2010 with ankle injury and was hampered by the injury all season. Missed time in 2009 with bruised knee.
Perry is the premier pass rusher in this year’s draft class, and has the skill set to be an effective three-down lineman. His only major flaw is the fact that he gets a little pass-rush happy at times, and he lacks the elite athleticism necessary to make up for those types of mistakes. As he improves his discipline on the field he should become a more well-rounded lineman, but you can expect to see him make an impact as a pass rusher immediately.
2011 vs Stanford
2011 vs Arizona
2011 vs Utah
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Comments Off