27. Nick Perry (Ray’s pick)
Nick Perry still hasn’t lived up to the expectations set for him when he was drafted in 2012, but he still makes the list at #28.
Selected in the first round (28th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft, Perry came in with the hype a day-one selection can expect to receive.
Unfortunately, his rookie season was derailed with injuries, limiting him to just six games.
Perry struggled to stay healthy again in 2013, this time playing in 11 games. He flashed potential in places, but was largely inconsistent. According to ESPN Stats, he recorded 20 tackles and four sacks.
The signs weren’t promising for Perry when Julius Peppers was signed in 2014 and joined Clay Matthews and Mike Neal outside.
In 2014, Perry was finally able to stay relatively healthy, missing just one game at Minnesota with a shoulder injury.
It was far from a dominant season, but Perry did show talent. As Paul Imig of Fox Sports Wisconsin wrote at the time, less could be more for Perry moving forward:
“Look at his stretch of games from Weeks 5-7. He played fewer than 34 percent of the snaps in those three games combined, rushing the passer a total of 53 times. But in that span, Perry had three sacks and five quarterback hurries. That means he altered or took down the quarterback in more than 15 percent of those opportunities. For comparison purposes, Clay Matthews had a sack or quarterback hurry this past season on 10 percent of his pass-rushes.
The only three games in 2014 in which Perry played more than 50 percent of the snaps were arguably his three worst performances of the season. Those were Weeks 10, 11 and the NFC championship game.”
Though 2015 was much the same as the previous years of his career in Green Bay, the Packers decided during the early days of the free agency period to bring Perry back on a single-year deal — a prove-it deal that could either make or break Perry for years to come.
So why does Perry make the list?
Well, he was selected in the first round for a reason — he has talent.
Staying relatively healthy in 2014 and 2015 was important for him, and Perry may now be able to continue to establish himself in 2016. He will be 26 years old when the new season kicks off, so he is still young enough to find consistency.
He enters another contract season in 2016, so we can expect a sense of urgency to his performances. If Perry can stay healthy, there is certainly a role for him on defense moving forward.
Next: No. 27 (Freddie's pick)