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Nick Perry, NFL Draft 2012: Pass Rusher With Upside... But is he a Tweener?

As a prototypical rush outside linebacker Nick Perry has been all over over draft boards while scouts try and discern what kind of player he is. Some believe the USC pass rusher compares favorably to Green Bay Packers' OLB Clay Matthews, while others postulate he isn't nearly as skilled as Matthews, lacking the skills needed to make an impact at the next level. Personally, I see Perry as the latter; I don't see am elite NFL pass rusher, but I do see a player with some skills who could be used in both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme with some work. Ultimately I don't think he's the right fit for the Atlanta Falcons, but nevertheless lets take a look.

At 6'3", 271 lbs Perry has the look of an ideal 4-3 defensive end. However, watching him play you see that he doesn't get enough leverage to really anchor the point of attack, especially at runs directed at his side. When he will be asked to take on NFL offensive tackles I don't see him having the ability to overpower them, as he did at USC.

Mocking the Draft's Kadar has a very negative view of Perry, and I can't say I disagree.

Exhibits the first step to be a threat off the edge, however struggles to drop his pad level when flattening out. Plus, he doesn't have much of a counter to his game at this point. Nevertheless, has some obvious talent and is a guy you would expect to start as a rush backer in a 34 scheme and be a productive threat off the edge.

National Football Post

With the re-signing of John Abraham I feel there is little need for a developmental, unsound DE to bring into the fold. Atlanta don't figure to use enough 3-4 looks to justify taking a rush linebacker, and even then I think it would be better to get someone like Vinny Curry.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.