Quick hits: Pass rushers, part II

February, 26, 2012
2/26/12
4:10
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- Quick hits on a few more pass rushers who might be of interest to the Patriots:

1. USC's Nick Perry. After a 9.5-sack junior season, Perry declared for the draft and is considered one of the top athletes in the defensive end/outside linebacker class. He said he measured 6-foot-2 and weighed 271 pounds. As for where he sees his best fit, Perry said, "I prefer 4-3. I like to keep my hand in the dirt, but as long as I’m rushing and getting to quarterback I’m fine whatever it is." Perry projects as a first- or second-round selection and is expected to work out well basd on his athleticism. Perry didn't play as heavy as 271, but said the weight feels good. "I wouldn’t have it on if I couldn’t handle it," he said.

2. Virginia's Cam Johnson. As noted by blog commenter "JohnfromManchester", Johnson has some good things going for him. From a Patriots perspective, he has a solid body type (6-3, 268) and previously played linebacker for Al Groh, who is from the Bill Parcells coaching tree. Under a new coaching staff at Virginia, Johnson's role changed. “We switched to the 4-3, and I played defensive end," Johnson relayed. "I started out around 245 [pounds as a freshman] and going into the last season, I was weighing 270.” Johnson is viewed as an early- to mid-round pick.

3. Wake Forest's Kyle Wilber. Didn't look like he had the bulk the Patriots might prefer, and probably fits better in the Cowboys/Chargers type of 3-4 defense, but analysts say the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Wilber has the smarts and intangibles that wouldbe welcomed on any team. Wilber played backwards more than forwards in Wake Forest's 3-4 scheme. "With our team, the way we did it, it was more 75 percent of the time I was dropping back in coverage," he explained. "So hopefully I can show them that during my junior tape it shows me a lot at defensive end, my explosiveness off the edge, how I used my hands, how physical I was with tackles, even with my small size. Wilber said he points his game toward Clay Matthews, because "he has a tremendous motor, he’s relentless, he’s physical, he’s fast and he’s a smart football player."

EXTRA POINT: The hope was to add Syracuse's Chandler Jones and Oklahoma's Ronnell Lewis to the list, but the connection couldn't be made.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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