One big position of need outside of wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars is at defensive end. Despite the fact that the Jaguars were able to bring back their leading sacker from last season in Jeremy Mincey, the team still needs another defensive end. It's possible Aaron Kampman could finally be healthy and return to the line up, but banking on a 30+ year old defensive end with two knee tears in two seasons would be a mistake.
The team also will appear to lose Matt Roth in free agency, so a defensive end will likely be high on their priority list for the NFL Draft. A player I've seen some Jaguars fans mention and bring up as a possible draft selection is Southern California defensive end Nick Perry. I'm not really a big fan of what Perry brings to the table, and after the jump I'll highlight one of his games and explain why.
The game cut up I'll be using to highlight Nick Perry today is his game against California and matched up against potential first round pick, left tackle Mitchell Schwartz. The game cut up is courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com.
Perry is an athletic defensive end who graded out really, really well at the NFL Combine, especially since he bulked up and added roughly 20 pounds from his playing weight at Southern Cal. Perry measured in at the combine at about 6'3" and 271 pounds, which was much bigger (weight wise) than most expected. He also flashed in speed drills running a 4.61 40-yard dash, put up 35 reps on the bench, and was tops in both vertical jump and broad jump for defensive end. It's too bad the athlete Perry graded out as at the combine doesn't show up often on film.
I chose Perry's matchup against Schwartz for a couple of reasons. First, this is the caliber of player Perry is going to be going up against each week on Sundays and Schwartz is kind of a tweener offensive tackle who can play either side. Schwartz is also a strong lineman that does a nice job in the running game, and you can see that's an area that Perry needs to improve.
The first two plays of the clip aren't to Perry's side of the field and you can't really see him do much. In the first running play he does a nice job of working back down the line of scrimmage to get to the ball carrier, but in the second play there's not really anything he can do on the play.
On the first passing play of the game, Perry gets shut down by Schwartz right as the engage. Schwartz gets his hands on him and just blocks him up as Zach Maynard just completely misses on the pass (as he often does, he's awful). On the very next play, Perry tries to speed past Schwartz on third and long, but Schwartz slides back and shadow's Perry, standing him up when Perry tries to bullrush in when the wide rush doesn't work and winds up being pancaked as Maynard leaves the pocket and runs with the ball.
On the very next play, Perry picks up a sack when he flips to left end. The USC defense dials up a blitz on this play, lining Perry up wide and bringing a blitzing linebacker in the gap, forcing the right tackle to chose to block the linebacker or Perry and he hesitates on which player to block. Perry blows right past the second effort attempt to block him and sacks the quarterback, stripping the football for a turnover. A dialed up sack for Perry, but Perry did his job on the play and got the sack.
Much of the game however when Perry is lined up at right end, he's just completely shut down by Schwartz or ran wide out of the play behind the quarterback. He also tends to get pushed around and washed out of some of the running plays, despite putting up the 35 reps on the bench, isn't very strong in anchoring or setting the edge.
Overall, I'm not sure where Perry fits in the draft. His athleticism and measurables say first round pick, but if you watch him match up against the better offensive tackles in college he just doesn't really stand out. He looks a bit stiff trying to get around the edge and that also makes you wonder if he can transition to outside linebacker in a 3-4, which is where a lot of people think he belongs in the NFL. We haven't seen Perry play at the 273 pounds on tape yet, because he was more in the 250 range at USC and reportedly had a hard time keeping that weight on.
As I mentioned, he has the athleticism you look for in an end and at times will show a nice bull rush and speed rush off the edge, but it seems like he struggles against stronger lineman who can slide with his outside rush and he can't break free one their hands are on him.