Draft Spotlight: DE Nick Perry

Former USC defensive end Nick Perry lit up the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine today. He likely propelled himself into the first round of the draft. Is he an option for Chicago at 19th overall?

Heading into Indianapolis, former USC defensive end Nick Perry (6-3, 271) was a borderline first-round pick. Most analysts felt he was a Top 30 pick but after his showing at the NFL Scouting Combine today, he likely earned consensus Top 20 status.

Perry led all defensive ends with 35 reps in the bench press, 38.5 inches in the vertical jump and a 10-4 broad jump, and came in third with a 4.64 40-yard dash. To say the kid's athletic is an understatement.

He played out of a three-point stance in college and has said he would like to continue playing defensive end, where he feels most comfortable. Yet many scouts believe he could be equally adept as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system.


DE Nick Perry
Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire

The Chicago Bears have the 19th overall pick in the 2012 draft and defensive end is a priority. Coach Lovie Smith reiterated this weekend the important of pass rush from the front four in his Cover 2 system. Perry might be able to provide the type of pressure Israel Idonije could not.

Let's go the film to see if Perry might be a viable candidate for the team's first round pick.

Pros

-Severe athleticism shows up on tape. Great speed; uses long strides to quickly close ground. Can easily chase down quarterbacks to the sideline.
-Comes off ball very low; extends arms and uses violent punch to create separation.
-Uses strong hands well to disengage.
-Quickness to turn the corner. Uses rip move and leverage to his advantage. Can get on a quarterback in a hurry.
-Keeps head up and shows good play recognition.
-Relentless motor.
-Fluid athlete that can change directions quickly.

Cons

-Mainly a speed rusher. Bull rush isn't overly effective.
-Doesn't show functional strength and can get swallowed up by bigger linemen.
-Doesn't show well in coverage; lacks awareness.
-Played almost exclusively at right defensive end, where Julius Peppers resides.

Perry is a smart athlete who shows just as well against the run as he does as a pass rusher – one of the many reasons he could play LB in a 3-4. He reads plays very well and his change-of-direction skills allow him to be a playmaker. He's been known to wear down late in games, so conditioning is an issue.

Overall though, he appears to have all the requisite skills to be a starter in a 4-3 scheme. His freakish athleticism, combined with very good size, would allow him to be productive from Day 1. The Bears could get creative in play calling with two defensive ends as athletic as Perry and Peppers.

If Chicago wants to instantly upgrade the pass rush, Perry would be well worth it at 19th overall.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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