Questioning Nick Perry's fit in a 3-4

April, 27, 2012
4/27/12
11:10
AM ET

We noted early Friday morning that the Green Bay Packers plan to use first-round draft pick Nick Perry as an outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. Perry bulked up to 271 pounds this offseason, presumably in preparation to land with a 4-3 team and play defensive end, but the Packers believe his speed and athletic ability will allow him to make the transition.

I'm never a big fan of questioning such football technicalities a day after the draft, but it's fair to point out that not everyone across the league is completely sold on the idea of Perry in a 3-4. Longtime general manager Bill Polian, now an ESPN analyst, said that the selection of Perry, along with Quinton Coples by the New York Jets and Whitney Mercilus by the Houston Texans raise questions about fit and scheme.

"In the picks of Mercilus, Perry and Coples," Polian said, "you have guys that you don't on the surface say, 'Oh that's a perfect fit for the defensive system. So I'll be very anxious to see -- these are all good football payers, by the way, and good picks -- but I'll be very anxious to see how they plan to be used by the team's that acquired them. It's interesting."

My take: It's not whether a player fits into a scheme, but how the team adjusts or massages its scheme to fit the player. Eliminating talented players because of short-term scheme questions significantly limits the pool of help for any team. Perry will play the biggest role in his own success, but the a chunk of the responsibility lies with the Packers in finding the best way to use him within their structure.

We'll obviously have much more throughout the day. For now, feel free to check out ESPN.com's pick-by-pick draft analysis, complete with Scouts Inc.'s take on each player and video assessments from Todd McShay.

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