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Packers 2016 outside linebacker additions: Nick Perry proves himself on 1-year deal

After four disappointing seasons, Nick Perry finally broke out in 2016.

Wild Card Round - New York Giants v Green Bay Packers Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Today, Acme Packing Company continues the examination of the Green Bay Packers’ 2016 roster. Each day over the next two weeks, we will break down a different position on the roster with examinations of the players on the 53-man roster in 2016, the contributions of new additions and players who signed new contracts, and players who have contracts expiring this offseason.

Nearly every team in the league could use more quality edge rushers, including the Packers. While Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers have led the team in that department for several years, the team searched for younger players to supplement their shortcomings. While that search continues this offseason, Green Bay might have found one such pass rusher already on its roster.

No. 53 Nick Perry

Experience: Five seasons
College: Southern California
How acquired: Signed as an unrestricted free agent
2016 statistics: 52 tackles, 11 sacks

For most of his career, Nick Perry looked like the classic underachiever. The Packers selected the edge rusher in the first round, only to see him miss 15 games over his first two years and compile no more than four sacks in any of his four seasons. While good enough to continue playing in the league, Perry gave no indication that he could become a true field-tilter.

That perception changed during the playoffs following the 2015 season. In two games against Washington and the Arizona Cardinals, Perry racked up 3 and 1/2 sacks along with a forced fumble. For the first time in a big game, he finally looked like a game-changing talent. That run convinced Green Bay to bring Perry back on a one-year "prove-it" deal.

The young linebacker responded with the best season of his career. Despite missing two games and playing the final stretch of the season with a clubbed hand, Perry registered a career-best 11 sacks and led all Packers defenders in total pressures. He also established himself as a steady run defender. In doing so, Perry has made himself one of the top free agents available heading into the offseason.

No. 51 Kyler Fackrell

Experience: Rookie
College: Utah State
How acquired: Drafted in third round (No. 88 overall)
2016 statistics: 18 tackles, two sacks

Under general manager Ted Thompson, the Packers have spent much of their early round draft capital on pass rushers. For the most part, those that have developed into quality defenders possessed elite-level athleticism and hailed from a Power Five program. All of which made Kyler Fackrell's selection in the third round somewhat puzzling.

While Fackrell offers some impressive traits -- his 6-foor-5 frame makes him the tallest outside linebacker in Green Bay after Peppers -- his speed scores, lack of mass, and advanced age for a rookie (25) seemed an unlikely combination for a Thompson linebacker. Because of those limitations, few expected much out of Fackrell early on.

For the most part, his season played out accordingly. The rookie went long stretches without making any meaningful plays and saw his role in the defense fluctuate accordingly. At the same time, Fackrell did make a few impact plays such as his critical forced fumble against the New York Giants in Week 5 that suggest he could develop into a more significant contributor in future years. Of course, given his age, he probably needs to turn that corner by 2017 if he hopes to have a long career.

Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. He covers the NFL for Sports on Earth and SB Nation. He also serves as the senior writer and editor for Acme Packing Company, a Green Bay Packers blog.