In his fourth mock draft of the 2012 NFL draft season, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Green Bay Packers a pair of defensive prospects to help makeover a unit that gave up more pass yards than any defense in NFL history last season.
He started by upgrading the pass rush at outside linebacker before moving to the defensive line in the second round.
Kiper mocked USC defensive end/outside linebacker Nick Perry to the Packers at No. 28 overall, a connection you’ve seen more and more analysts making as the draft draws near.
“They simply have to find players who can create matchup problems for offenses often trying to play catch-up via the pass,” Kiper said. “Perry is another convert option, but the Packers can do a lot with their looks and find a place for a pass-rusher with his upside.”
31 picks later, Kiper gave Green Bay Nebraska defensive end Jared Crick in the second round.
“A poor man’s J.J. Watt, Crick is a penetrator with enough size to play defensive end in a 3-4,” Kiper said. “[He] will help the pass rush.”
Perry (6-3, 271 lbs.) finished his career with 13.5 sacks, including a Pac-12 leading 9.5 in 2011. Crick (6-4, 279) totaled 20, with 9.5 in both 2009 and ’10 before missing most of ’11 with a torn pectoral.