Name: OLB/DE Nick Perry
School: University of Southern California
Size: 6'3, 271 lbs
Expected Round: 1
Strengths: Athletic freak. Led conference in sacks, nose for the play in the backfield. Active hands to knock down balls if in position. Relentless. Good football instincts when asked to contain. Able to wall against strong offensive tackles. Sometimes faced double teams. Seems like a good fit for a hybrid defensive front. Above average first step.
Weaknesses: Inexperienced in coverage. Often tries the speed rush and opens lanes for mobile quarterbacks. Mostly potential when considering the 3-4 defense. Has stated that he would prefer to remain in the 4-3 as a pass rusher.
What is their role? Perry would be a hybrid OLB/DE for the Patriots. Typically used to rush the passer on passing downs.
Will it change from year 1 to year 2? Probably not. Perry would be able to compete for a starting job out of the draft and would likely hold onto that role.
How many downs can he play? Perry can be a three down player, setting the edge and rushing the passer. Think of a hybrid Andre Carter/Mark Anderson role.
Which current player will he beat out? Jermaine Cunningham, Markell Carter, Trevor Scott, Alex Silvestro, Aaron Lavarias.
What’s his ST value? Minimal. Could be asked to play in the coverage unit, but would most likely remain protected and kept on defense.
Does he have positional versatility? Yes, as both a 3-4 OLB and a 4-3 DE. He could also step in as a 3-3 DE in a lighter defensive package.
Why the Patriots? The Patriots have a large need for a defensive stud in the front seven and Perry could be that stud. He's extremely athletic and has plenty of upside. Perry could complement Rob Ninkovich and effectively replace the void the Patriots have at pass rushing outside linebacker.
Why not the Patriots? Perry could be drafted before #27 and the Patriots may not be interested in moving up for a player like Perry if they believe a comparable player could be found later. They also may have concerns about his ability and willingness to perform in a hybrid defense.
Verdict: I really like Perry and I think he would fit well with the Patriots. Belichick has been looking for a stud and was unable to grab Aldon Smith last year. Perry could be his guy this year. If Perry isn't overdrafted, I'm sure the Patriots will take a long look at him.