The NFL Combine splits up the workouts into groupings. I have been waiting for the defensive lineman and linebackers to workout because it relates to the Dallas Cowboys draft needs. There are also some of the best players in the entire draft in this grouping, so I have been anxious to see how some of these guys came out and performed.
One thing to keep in mind about the combine is that good athletes usually have great workouts there. The combine is important in the evaluation process, but I believe that game tape trumps everything else. Don't lean too heavily on combine results and overrate them, but at the same time, don't underestimate them either. The results of the drills and workouts give us a better picture of a prospects athleticism, that is what I mostly take out of the combine experience.
Picking 14th overall in the upcoming NFL Draft should net us a great player. The problem is, what player do we take? That is up for discussion and we could go so many different directions. Last year we had a pretty good idea of who the Cowboys were interested in. This year there are so many players who would be worthy of the 14th overall pick, and the Cowboys preferred strategy of going BPA will leave us discussing for months all of the possibilities.
Nick Perry is one pass rusher that should now be entered into the discussion of what to do with the 14th overall pick.
Take the jump...
One player that I was really high on in my first two big boards was USC's defensive end Nick Perry. During my second appearance on KD Drummond's podcast "Krunchtime With KD", I talked about Perry being a big time pass rushing prospect. I said that he would probably have a really good combine and that would send him shooting up teams draft boards.
Well Perry didn't disappoint me on Monday. He displayed the speed, acceleration and athleticism that made me believe he was a top 15 pick. His performance definitely helped raise his draft stock, and now teams are aware of just how good of an athlete he is.
|Nick Perry Combine Results|
|4.64 40 yard dash|
|35 bench reps of 225 pounds|
|38.5 inch vertical jump|
|124 inch broad jump|
|7.25 3 cone drill|
|4.66 20 yard shuttle|
There were rumors that Perry could run in the 4.4 or 4.5 range in the 40-yard dash, I figured he would run in the 4.6 or 4.7 range. His 40-yard dash shows the type of athlete he is, this kid can move. His performance on the bench shows his strength, and hopefully that will translate over to the NFL. Regardless, 35 reps does tell us that he is a very strong pass rusher.
He was the top performer in the vertical jump for defensive lineman, and 38.5 is a great number for a guy who weighs 270 pounds. He had an all around great performance at the combine, but I am not really surprised by that. A lot of people knew Perry was a great athlete entering the draft, but he still managed to blow some scouts away with that type of performance.
Perry has made it known that he would prefer to play as a 4-3 defensive end, but he doesn't decide who drafts him. This is the type of prospect that can play in any system, 3-4 or 4-3. He would be a perfect fit for the Cowboys at 14. There were rumors last year that the Cowboys wanted to pair DeMarcus Ware with a pass rushing talent like Aldon Smith. Nick Perry has similar type of talent, and with him being 6-3, 271 pounds, he fits the criteria the Cowboys look for in pass rushers. They tend to go for larger defensive ends over the smaller guys, it's just how they draft pass rushers.
"For defense, I'm into the pressure for us right now, above the corner, even if we franchise Spencer," Jones said. "I think we've got some good players in the secondary, though we need another good player there, and we don't need to be cavalier about passing on a significant pass-rusher in a draft.
"On the other hand, I think we've got better than it's perceived in Spencer as a potential pressure player. And we've got a guy that may not be the edge-setter that Spencer has been, but is very capable of coming in here and fulfilling the second pass-rusher on most downs that are passing situations, that's (Victor) Butler."
He is great against the run, his strength and power will help setting the edge in the run game. Anthony Spencer is good against the run, so I believe the Cowboys would look for another player with similar run stopping ability. What should interest the war room the most is Perry's ability as a pass rusher. He has the speed and acceleration to get after the quarterback. Perry is still a little raw at this stage, but his upside makes up for it. In a year or two, he could be a 10-12 sack a year player. He would be a great weapon for Rob Ryan to inherit and wreak havoc with.
The one flaw I think Perry does have is dropping back into coverage. In the individual workouts, he actually looked pretty fluid in the hips. I thought he was going to be a lot stiffer, but he wasn't awful in that drill. His footwork was better than what I was expecting. Still, this is one area that he will need to work on. Playing as a defensive end in the 4-3, he didn't have to drop into pass coverage very often. This is one of the hardest adjustments for 4-3 defensive ends to make when moving to 3-4 outside linebacker.
Over the next two months we will find out if the Cowboys are interested in Nick Perry. His college production and game tape suggest he will be a worthy candidate for the 14th pick. Now his combine performance just makes the sales pitch for drafting him even easier.
Next on Cowboys Draft Talk: Workout Warrior Melvin Ingram