Nick Perry sacks Matthew Stafford

The Green Bay Packers need to do something to make 2012 first-round pick Nick Perry productive.

They can start by finding a way to keep him on the field. Perry has missed 15 games in his first two NFL seasons. In 2013, he started just six of 11 games. Part of the reason he was active but not starting in five of those games was a lingering foot injury. Another part was that Mike Neal was playing better.

But the Packers spent (wasted?) a first-round pick on this Perry, a defensive end at USC. You see, the Packers adapt players to their defense – or really, really try to — rather than adapting their defense to their players.

Perry is one of several defensive ends to be forced into the outside linebacker position in Green Bay. Some of the others were Aaron Kampman, Dezman Moses, Andy Mulumba and Neal.

Now, it looks like the Packers may adapt Perry’s role to play more to his strengths. The Packers are considering using Perry as an elephant defensive end, which is sort of a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker.

“We’re looking at different combinations,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “That’s part of the thing I was talking about, utilizing personnel better.”

In this new position, Perry would line up on the inside shoulder of the tight end, rather than the inside shoulder of the tackle as he does now.

It’s designed to maximize his ability as a pass rusher. In the 17 games he’s played as a pro, Perry has registered six sacks. Four of those came in 2013.

You can be sure the Packers were hoping for more production than that. Maybe this will move will allow Perry to realize his potential.

If not, he’s one step closer to joining the club of Ted Thompson first-round mistakes.

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