Packers first draft pick is USC's Nick PerryWisconsin Sports
-- The Green Bay Packers drafted an outside linebacker in the first round last night who will get a chance to start opposite Clay Matthews. The Packers took Nick Perry of Southern California, as they stayed in the 28th spot on the opening night of the NFL Draft.
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers drafted an outside linebacker in the first round last night who will get a chance to start opposite Clay Matthews. The Packers took Nick Perry of Southern California, as they stayed in the 28th spot on the opening night of the NFL Draft.
Perry was a defensive end in a 4-3 defense at USC. But Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson says Perry has the speed and strength to be an excellent pass rusher just off the front of the Packers’ 3-4 defense. The pick addressed one of Green Bay’s biggest needs, after the team finished last in the NFL in sack percentage a year ago.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers said the Packers want to get back to pressuring the quarterback like they did in 2010, when they had the league’s third-best sack percentage in the year they won the Super Bowl. Perry is 6-feet-2-and-a-half and 270 pounds. Matthews also played at USC, but they didn’t play together. Perry sat out his freshman year in a redshirt when Matthews was a senior.
The Packers also have big needs on the defensive line, and they could have taken a top-notch end like Kendall Reyes of UConn or Devon Still of Penn State. Thompson said he rated a number of players about the same – and they felt Perry was the right pick at the time. Green Bay also has needs in the secondary, and they’ll have a chance to address them tonight when the second-and-third rounds take place. The NFL Draft ends tomorrow with Rounds four-through-seven.
USC pass rusher Nick Perry was very glad to be chosen by the Green Bay Packers as their first-round draft pick last night. But the happiest guy on the team might actually be Clay Matthews – and not just because he played on the same college squad as Perry for a year. Matthews was often double-teamed and triple-teamed at his left outside linebacker spot last season, because of the lack of a quality pass rusher on the other side. The Packers and Perry hope to fix that. He played defensive end on a 4-3 scheme at USC. But in Green Bay’s 3-4 defense, there’s a good chance he’ll start at the right outside linebacker spot opposite Matthews. That means Perry would have to start his plays from a standing position instead of with a hand on the ground. Perry says the transition will be a lot of work, but he’s looking forward to it. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers says Perry’s speed will bring a lot to the position. And Capers says there are not many 270-pound players who can run the 40-yard dash as fast as the four-point-five that Perry’s been timed at. Matthews called Perry to congratulate him moments after he was taken with the 28th overall pick. Perry said he was drafted about where he expected. He thought he’d go between the middle of the first round and early in the second. Perry said everything worked out for the best – and when he thinks of Green Bay, he thinks “Super Bowls.” The Packers have the 59th and 90th picks tonight, when the second and third rounds take place. The four final rounds are set for tomorrow.
Elsewhere in the NFC North, the Minnesota Vikings took a step toward protecting young quarterback Christian Ponder when they drafted USC left tackle Matt Kalil. The Vikings had the third overall pick, but they traded down one spot with Cleveland and picked up three additional draft choices in the fourth, fifth, and seventh rounds. It allowed the Browns to get Alabama running back Trent Richardson. The Chicago Bears chose a pass rusher by taking Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin with the 19th pick. The Detroit Lions drafted 23rd, and took tackle Riley Reiff from Iowa.