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Broncos Draft Prospect: DE Nick Perry

Feb 27, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive lineman Nick Perry does the shuttle run during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Feb 27, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive lineman Nick Perry does the shuttle run during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

One prospect who should be available when we pick, is Nick Perry, the defensive end from USC. Perry the 6'3 271lb DE is one of the top pass rushers available in the 2012 draft. Perry made the first team, All Pac 12 team last season. Perry also earned recognition as a Freshman All American in 2009. Perry attended Martin Luther King High School in Detroit Michigan. As a senior in 2007, Perry totaled 147 tackles and a Michigan record 36 sacks. On December 16th, 2011, Perry announced that he would enter the 2012 NFL Draft. Perry is viewed as one of the better pass rushers in the draft and likely will be a first or second round selection.

After an impressive 2011 season where Nick Perry totaled 9.5 sacks for the USC Trojans, he was Invited the the NFL Scouting Combine.

Scouting Overview

  • 40 Yard Dash: 4.64 seconds (Top Performer in this drill)
  • Bench Press: 35 reps
  • Vertical Jump: 38.5 inches (Top Performer in this drill)
  • Broad Jump: 124 inches (Top Performer in this drill)
  • 3 Cone Drill: 7.25 seconds
  • 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.66 second has Perry listed as their third ranked Defensive End in the 2012 Draft Class, and the 23rd overall player in the entire 2012 Draft Class.


Pass rush: Has very good first step quickness and does a nice job in space. Has the footwork, body control and fluidity to quickly change directions. Does a nice job elevating and getting his hands up to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage. Works hard to collapse the pocket with a relentless motor. Brings aggressive playing style on every snap and doesn't quit. Lacks elite size and length -- undersized and can be swallowed by larger blockers.

Run defense: Read/reacts quickly with good awareness and recognition skills to chase down the play from different angles. Understands leverage and does a nice job staying balanced, getting lower than blockers and underneath their pads, usually attracting holding penalties.

Explosion: A quick, flexible athlete with sharp burst off the snap. Shows the natural bend and coordination to dip his shoulder and consistently win the edge. Doesn't always time-up his explosion and isn't a sudden pass rusher.

Strength: Uses his powerful upper body and hands to force his way into the pocket. Does a nice job swatting blocker's hands/arms with his violent, active hands. Struggles to disengage at the point of attack and will never be the strongest on the field -- functional strength is a question mark.

Tackling: Plays smart and disciplined, staying at home and restraining from biting on fakes -- listens and applies coaching. Good hand strength to secure tackles. Lacks ideal arm length, but works hard to wrap and tackle through the ballcarrier.

Intangibles: Projects best as a stand up linebacker in a 3-4 scheme at the next level, but doesn't have much experience in this area and there could be a learning curve -- can he play with his hand on the ground at the next level? Lined up in both the two and three-point stance in college. Has good production on his resume, capping off his career with a strong junior season, leading the Pac-12 in sacks. Has questionable instincts when asked to drop in coverage. Appears fatigued late in games and needs to show better conditioning.

-- Dane Brugler

NY Times Scouting Report for Nick Perry

Scouting Report

U.S.C. defensive end Nick Perry is a bit small at 6-3, 250 pounds. Despite playing with his hand in the dirt in college, Perry will most likely find his way as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the N.F.L. Still, his primary strength will probably always be rushing the passer.

I watched tape of Perry before checking his statistics or combine results, and what I saw coincided with how Perry measured. He’s an explosive player who is outstanding when moving forward. He fires off the ball and can get upfield in a hurry, and this is represented in his 4.64 40-yard dash time and 38.5-inch vertical leap. These numbers are sensational for a player his size.

Perry’s speed rush is one of the best in the class, as he uses his explosiveness to quickly gain leverage on slower tackles. You can see this at the 38-second mark below, when Perry flies off the ball, dips his shoulder and turns the corner. He’s very good at making his body "small" to limit a target for the blocker.

Off his speed rush, Perry utilizes a full pass rush repertory, including a spin, swim, rip and bull rush. At the 3:07 mark below, you can see an example of this. Despite his pass rush versatility, only Perry’s speed rush is effective consistently.

Despite his explosiveness, Perry is a bit tight in the hips and frequently has trouble moving laterally. Because of this, he will have some trouble in the N.F.L. if asked to drop into coverage.

Projection: Perry’s largest weakness is his

The fear many N.F.L. teams will have is that Perry is just a pass-rush specialist. Perry is projected to go in the back part of the first round, and this is a hefty price to pay for a potentially one-dimensional player. A team that runs a 3-4 defense and is in need of a threat off the edge could find Perry attractive, though.

Most Likely Destinations

San Diego, Cleveland, Houston, Green Bay, San Francisco, New England defense. His strength against the run is that he often keeps a low base, such as at the 1:10 mark below. Perry doesn’t make the tackle there, but he extends to shed the blocker and force the running back to bounce the play outside. Still, Perry simply doesn’t have the strength to consistently compete in the run game against much larger offensive linemen. Until he adds some bulk, he will struggle getting off blocks at the point of attack.

Mocking The Drafts Scouting report on Nick Perry:

6'3'', 250 pounds | Defensive End | USC

Games Watched: Arizona, Arizona State, Washington

Pass Rush: Nick Perry's biggest strength is his pass rushing ability. He has a quick burst off the line of scrimmage and gets to the edge quickly. Displaying both a spin move and a strong swim move, Perry collected 9.5 sacks this season for USC. While stronger tackles can push him around due to a lack of strength, Perry's motor, technique and quickness make him tough for any lineman to contain over the span of an entire game.

Pursuit: I like Nick Perry's consistent effort. He shows good range and is always making tackles downfield well away from his starting point. It is also encouraging to see him get his hands up on tons of passing plays in which he was unable to get to the quarterback. That shows both effort and awareness on his part.

Run Defense: Nick Perry isn't quite as strong of a run defender as he is a pass rusher. He is a bit undersized in the 4-3, and his lack of strength shows in run defense. He occasionally gets upright while getting after the ball carrier, but I think his lack of strength is the root of his issues.

Strength: As mentioned above, Perry lacks some strength that scouts like to see in a 4-3 defensive end. He has a hard time fighting through blocks and seems to be reliant on his pass rushing techniques and quickness to get into the backfield.

Tackling: Nick Perry is a fundamentally sound tackler. He wraps up well and rarely lets ball carriers escape his grasp.

Technique: Overall, I think Nick Perry has relatively polished technique at this point in his career. He exhibits a nice repertoire of pass rushing moves and displays solid lean when applying pressure from the edge. His technique helps him make up for some of the strength he lacks.

Final Word: Nick Perry is an interesting prospect. Most consider him a player that can play in either the 4-3 or the 3-4. The combine is going to be huge for him. He is either going to need to show the speed in the 40 and quickness in the linebacker drills, or he is going to have to have a strong weigh in and solid showing in the strength workouts. If he bulks up to around 275 while maintaining his quickness, he would make a fine first round pick at 4-3 defensive end. His scheme versatility also makes him an interesting fit for the Patriots and other teams that run multiple schemes.

Mike Mayock on DE Nick Perry:

After watching his tapes, Mayock said Perry was "up and down" in 2011. Sometimes, Perry looked like a first-rounder. Other times, he looked like a second- or third-round pick.

"That lack of consistency will hurt him a little bit," Mayock said.

But Perry is among the players who really could boost his stock during next week’s NFL scouting combine and USC’s March 7 pro day.

"I think he’s going to test extremely well," Mayock said. "He’s going to be one of those guys the combine and pro day helps because he’s a bit of an athletic freak." Scouting Report on DE Nick Perry, done by Reggie McColgan


6’3 271 pounds, 33″ arms, 9.5″ hands

4.64 40 yard dash, 35 bench press reps, 38.5 vertical, 124″ broad jump, 7.25 3 cone drill, 4.66 20 yard shuttle

Career: (through 11/8/2011)

Games: 34

Tackles: 92

TFL: 26

Sacks: 18

FF: 4


Three Year Starter

Good coaching (Been coached by Monte Kiffin for 2 seasons_

Elite speed and explosion off stance

Surprising Strength

Position versatility

Performs well in big games

Uses his hands well

Has a nice swim move

Fluid athlete, enough athleticism to learn to play coverage at the N.F.L level


Struggles when run at

Does not force many fumbles

Inconsistent production

Relegated to a 34 defense due to his size

injury history

needs more strength

needs to develop more moves, especially ones to counter go go inside

Gets too wide at times and can get pushed easily out of the play

Player Comparison: Cameron Wake

Round Projection: First round


After his Freshmen season many felt Perry would become an elite defensive player. He has been unable to duplicate that success the past two seasons. He has performed well but learning a new system combined with small injuries limited him in his second season. So far in his Junior season he is showing the potential to be a first round pick. I imagine he will dominate off season workouts. Perry as potential as a 43 DE as well as a 34 OLB. He has huge upside but also is perhaps the riskiest pass rusher in this draft.

NFLMocks preseason bio

So far, Nick Perry hasn’t lived up to expectations, but he still has time to prove he is a dominant pass rusher. Perry is a redshirt junior with big goals for the 2011 season. 15. Nick Perry wants to get more then 15 sacks this year. It sounds like a pipe dream considering he had just 4 last year, but do not underestimate him. Perry is unique specimen. He stands at 6 ft 3, 250 pounds and runs a 4.6 40 yard dash. He collected 9 sacks his freshman year, but was hampered by a lingering high ankle sprain in 2010. Perry’s unique blend of size and athleticism makes him a player to watch for this year. He could be the breakout player of the year if he is able to stay healthy. He’s a very quick player who uses his hands well. It’s hard to tell where his draft stock currently is. He has a ton of potential. If he breaks out this year, he could be a 1st round pick. Look out for Perry in 2011.

My Take: Perry is an athletic freak. Big, Strong and Fast, however, we have seen in the past, DE's who were athletic freaks didn't translate it onto the football field. Perry is a raw talent, and i think coach Fox and Del Rio could mold him into a dominant pass rusher. Now, many of you will say, wait we need DT's not more pass rushers, but honestly, you cannot ever have enough pass rushers. Also in a perfect world, our offense will put up 20+ points a game and we'll be playing with the lead, so the opposing team will have to pass, and our pass rushers will be able to pin their ears back and go after the QB.

Now, i don't feel like Perry will be our pick at 25, but it would not surprise me one bit if we did take him. Coach Fox wants to get after the QB, and like i said earlier, Pass Rushers are hard to find, so it's definite option i believe.