Perry figures to line up at outside linebacker opposite another former USC standout, Clay Matthews.
The 6-foot-3, 271-pounder ran a sizzling 4.58 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine. At the Combine, however, he said he would rather play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.
"I can handle both," he said. "I prefer 4-3. I like to keep my hand in the dirt, but as long as I'm rushing and getting to quarterback I'm fine whatever it is."
Later, he added: "I have the ability to play standing up. So if a coach likes me, so be it."
Here is part of his profile from NFL Draft Report's Dave-Te' Thomas.
While Perry is being considered a potential candidate to play outside linebacker in the National Football League, most talent evaluators have favorably compared this physical specimen to for Chicago Bears standout, Richard Dent. After he posted a 4.58-second clocking in the 40-yard dash at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, teams recognized that he might have the most explosive speed for any down lineman that entered the 2012 draft.
Southern California has always been known for developing raw athletes into polished defensive players for the NFL. Perry is expected to rival the Packers' Clay Matthews as the Trojans' next future professional star. He has that outstanding burst, take-off speed, long arms and superb balance to make it virtually impossible for slow-footed offensive tackles to prevent him from wreaking havoc in the backfield.
Why some scouts have also eyed him as a linebacker prospect is his ability to drop back in pass coverage, as he plays with the proper pad level, along with textbook-like knee bend, along with exceptional balance to not only string plays wide, but to make impact hits that can stun a running back and jar the ball loose. He's caused five fumbles in his last two seasons and 32 of his 51 quarterback pressures have come on third-down plays.
His ability to disrupt the pocket or track down ball carriers in the backfield allowed him to deliver 21.5 quarterback sacks and 29.5 tackles-for-loss, in addition to his 51 hurries. What teams immediately notice when reviewing game film is Perry's fluid moves when changing direction, as he is very good at slipping past blockers when shooting the inside gaps. He works hard in his quest to collapse the pocket and more than makes up for a lack of ideal size with his all-out hustle.
In pass defense, Perry has been very effective at using his leaping ability and reach to knock down a fair share of passes at the line of scrimmage. With his powerful upper body and long arms, he also does a nice job of keeping bigger offensive lineman from latching on to his jersey. As for his long pursuit skills, he is alert to cut blocks, using his hands well to keep opponents off his feet and has a keen concept for taking proper angles to seal off the outside running game and force the ball carriers back inside.
Southern California's recruiters have a long history for spotting talent early in their prep careers to establish than long-lasting relationship that has seen the university reap great rewards for signing talent well out of their normal recruiting territory. That is the main reason they were able to "steal" Perry from under the Big Ten Conference schools that coveted the blue chip Detroit, Michigan product.
Playing for the Motor City's King High School, the two-sport athlete competed as a tight end, linebacker and defensive end during his senior season. After he took the city by storm, recording 147 tackles and a state record 36 sacks in 2007, he earned All-American honors from USA Today All-USA, Parade, Super Prep, Prep Star, EA Sports and Scout.com. On the other side of the ball, he hauled in fourteen passes for 310 yards (22.1 ypc) with eight touchdowns, as King High went 14-0 and won the state title.
The senior was also named Super Prep All-Midwest, Prep Star All-Midwest, All-State, Detroit News All-Metro, Detroit News All-Detroit and Detroit News Dream Team MVP. Prior to suiting up for King High, where he also played basketball, Perry attended McKenzie High School in 2006. He earned All-Metro and All-City that season after he registered 75 tackles and eleven sacks.
Perry arrived on the Southern California campus as a 240-pounder in 2008. The coaches decided to red-shirt their prized recruit and he made use of their outstanding training room to add ten pounds of solid muscle to his frame. He played most of the 2009 campaign behind Wes Horton at weak-side defensive end, but did earn his first career start in the Stanford clash. On a talent-laden team that would see seven Trojans drafted after the season, including three juniors, Perry still led the team with eight sacks, as he posted nine stops-for loss and 24 tackles (16 solos).
An ankle sprain in 2010 fall camp forced Perry to miss the season opener vs. Hawaii and play in a limited role for three other contests before he earned nine starting assignments, shifting to the right side to play strong-side defensive end. He delivered twelve third-down hits among his eighteen quarterback pressures and posted four sacks to go with 7.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Even though he made only 25 tackles (15 solos), big plays were his specialty, causing two fumbles while recovering another that he advanced eight yards to set up a touchdown drive.
Perry remained at strong-side defensive end for the 2011 campaign, as the All-American and All-Pac 12 Conference selection was also a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation's top defensive end. The team's Defensive Lineman of the Year started all twelve games, ranking fifth on the team with 54 tackles. He led the league and ranked tenth nationally with 9.5 sacks and was fourth in the conference with a team-best thirteen stops behind the line of scrimmage, as he also caused three fumbles and recovered another.