18 Nick Perry
18. San Diego Chargers - LB Nick Perry (USC) -- MIKE MARSHALL
An edge rusher from a defensive pro factory with a repertoire of moves and the strength to bull rush...sounds like a perfect fit for a team that finished 25th in the league in sacks. Honestly, going pass rush or pass protection can never be scrutinized early on in the draft... Unless, of course you take Larry English. Which is exactly what the Chargers did a few years ago. San Diego found a weapon in Antwan Barnes who had a breakout season at OLB last season. AJ Smith is worthy of just about any kind of vitriol you want to throw at him but what you can't knock is his talent for drafting well. Except that whole Larry English deal.
Perry's scouting reports from the beginning of his sophomore season to the present are almost complete opposites. His critiques early were for a lack of an inside move and not enough arm separation to shake loose of blocks. One thing remains constant in his game: a dominant bullrush. He's developed a nice interior move to compliment his outside rush and gotten quicker while adding 20 pounds. That's the kind of progress you want to see when drafting a junior.
There are some concerns about his ability to make all the fluid moves required of an OLB, but that doesn't worry me. His first season (possibly longer) he would simply be a rush linebacker as he assimilates into his OLB role. He runs a 4.50 at 6'-3” 271lbs. Give me a handful of these guys off the edge and you'll have a very long day.
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)