The last time the Green Bay Packers tapped into the University of Southern California for a linebacker, lightning struck in the form of two time Pro Bowler Clay Matthews. General Manager Ted Thompson is hoping for lightning to strike twice. His 2012 number one draft choice is another USC Trojan, linebacker Nick Perry. Considered by many scouts to be the most explosive pass rushing defensive end and linebacker in the draft, Perry was selected 28th in the first round by the Pack. The Detroit, Michigan native will be much bigger than your average outside backer, standing just under 6-3 and weighing in at 271 pounds. Yet Perry blistered the 40 yard dash at the NFL combine in 4.58 seconds. The long armed defender has a wing span nearing 78 inches and he bench pressed 225 pounds an impressive 35 times. The redshirt junior came out early after dominating the Pac 12 conference last fall, racking up 9 and a half sacks, 13 tackles for losses, registering 23 quarterback pressures and forcing three fumbles. He started 21 of 24 games over his sophomore and junior years and during his freshman season, worked alongside his new running mate at linebacker, Matthews. Perry finished his collegiate career with 21 and a half sacks and 29 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He was named the defensive linemen of the year in the conference and a unanimous all Pac 12 first teamer. While he has a blinding upfield burst, he'll be asked to stand up and cover in space as a linebacker, not to mention thwart the running game directed at him. The Packers are confident he can handle it. The first round of the draft featured the big two quarterbacks at the top but was dominated by defensive pressure specialists in the front 7. 12 defensive linemen or linebackers were chosen and in the middle of the round, a real run was on, 10 of 11 picks were on the defensive side of the ball. Thompson said the team talked a bit about both trading up, there were a total of 9 deals made by teams, and trading down, but nothing came of the discussions. He felt it was best to stand pat and take the best player on the board, which also happens to fill a huge need on a defense that stastically speaking, was among the worst in the league despite a 15-1 record. On the link below, you'll hear from Thompson, defensive coordinator Dom Capers and the man of the hour, Nick Perry, the Green Bay Packers number one draft pick.
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