Former King/ Mackenzie High stars represent Detroit Public Schools
Leland Stein III
The Detroit Public School League’s (PSL) Martin Luther King Jr. High Crusaders saw two of its favorite sons drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft. Nick Perry, PSL Class of 2008, and Chris Greenwood, Class of 2009, are now joined together as the PSL’s 2012 NFL draftees.
Defensive end/linebacker Perry was taken with the 28th pick by one of the NFL’s preeminent teams, the tradition filled Green Bay Packers, following a stellar career at the University of Southern California (USC) where he earned 2011 All-Pac-12 first team pick and was a finalist for the Hendricks Award. He declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season.
Greenwood, a cornerback, was drafted by his hometown Detroit Lions in the fifth round (138th overall). The former Crusader was a three-time All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) first team pick, American Football Coaches Association Division III All-American and the MIAA Defensive Players of the Year after leading Albion College to a berth in the NCAA Division II Championships.
After a crazy good scouting combine where all left calling Perry “a tremendous physical specimen,” at 6-foot-3 and 271 pounds, he then went out and ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.5’s — almost unheard of for a player that size — had a 38½-inch vertical leap and put up 35 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press.
The Packers went 15-1 last season and lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl-winning New York Giants. No matter the Packers record, its defense took a step back from its 2011 Super Bowl winning team. Green Bay is banking on Perry, who finished with 21.5 sacks for the Trojans, including 9.5 last season which led the Pac-12. He also led the Trojans in 2011 with 13 tackles for loss.
“I am elated to be going to a franchise that has the tradition the Packers have,” Perry said. “This is a winning organization and I know I have to come in here and give everything I’ve got, because these fans don’t deserve anything less than my best.”
Perry and Greenwood are firmly etched in PSL lore after leading King to a Michigan State championship in 2007 — the first in PSL history (Cass Tech has since matched King in 2011).
Greenwood also set the NFL scouts on fire with his showing at Michigan’s pro day. The 6-foot-1, 193 pounder smoked the track in a 4.42-seconds over the 40-yard dash and produced a vertical jump of 43 inches. He became the second Division III football player selected in the past three drafts.
To Greenwood’s credit he played in the East-West Shrine Game in January, one of the top senior all-star games.
“It was fun to get out and play football with a high level of competition,” he said. “Everybody has a lot of talent at this level so a lot of time was spent on techniques because excelling at the little stuff helps you get further. I was ready to soak up whatever the coaches had to teach me.”
Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said of Perry: “He’s got that special kind of juice. We’re looking forward to getting him with (outside linebackers coach) Kevin (Greene) and (defensive coordinator) Dom (Capers). He’ll jump in with our guys and compete with our guys and we’ll see how he stacks up.”
Said Capers: “We think he (Perry) can certainly fit into our nickel scheme, being an edge rusher there. Maybe we can move him around a little bit. You’ve seen how much we move Clay (Matthews) around. He has explosion in his body and I don’t think the power and the physical part of it will be any problem for him.”
About Greenwood Lions coach Jim Schwartz said: “He’s a size-speed corner. He runs real fast. When I first saw him, down at the East-West game, and you see right away that he has physical attributes, he can run quick, he’s got great length. That was a big step up in competition for him but we stayed with him through the process, because he didn’t look out of place. We’ve got a good feel for him and think he is a good developmental corner.”
Perry and Greenwood both are elated to have been drafted, but they are really to put in the work to achieve at the NFL level.
Said Perry: “I think I have the raw set of skills and the mind to do it. I think I have a lot to bring to the table.”
Said Greenwood: “I’m living a dream. I know I have what it takes to play in the NFL. I can make plays. I’m glad the Lions have given me the opportunity to show everyone I can play at this level.”