Players for the 34 Defense
January 3, 2006
- By Allen Trieu
The 3-4 defense has made a return as many teams have switched to it as their base defense over the past few years. The Steelers, Texans, Cowboys, Ravens, Browns, Chargers, Patriots and 49ers are among the teams who employ the defense whereas 10 years ago, it was mostly the Steelers and Carolina Panthers who ran it. As a result, these teams look for a different type of front 7 player in the draft. Here are some players who fit the bill.
What You're Looking For: These are usually undersized defensive ends or pass rushing OLBs in college. What you're looking for is an athletic, fast player to come off the edge. Shawne Merriman, Jason Babin, and Demarcus Ware are among recent players drafted who were ends in college, but 3-4 OLBs in the pros. The key is switching from coming off the ball from a 3-point stance to a 2-point stance. The other key element is dropping into coverage. The 3-4 requires that these rush backers be able to drop into flats and matchup with tight ends and running backs in coverage. Ware does this well as does the Steelers' Joey Porter.
1. Bobby Carpenter - Ohio State
Size: 6'3, 255 | College Positions: OLB, DE
Carpenter played OLB for the bucks, but put his hand down and rushed as a DE on passing downs. He has shown the pass rush ability to thrive as a rush backer in the 3-4 and has experience dropping into coverage from his linebacker spot even though that isn't necessarily his strength.
2. Manny Lawson - NC State
Size: 6'5, 245 | College Position: DE
Undersized as a true DE, Lawson has relied on his edge speed to get to the QB for the Wolfpack. He has great athleticism and quickness and has a great motor in pursuit, another key aspect of playing OLB in a 34
. Lawson projects as a later day 1 pick, but could go in the 1st or 2nd to teams playing the 34 because he projects much better there.
3. Elvis Dumervil - Louisville
Size: 6'0, 256 | College Position: DE
Dumervil's sack total of 20 this year speaks for itself. This is a player who knows how to get to the QB. He has great speed off the edge and does a good job of getting the jump on the snap count. He doesnt have a lot of experience dropping into coverage, but he has the raw skills to be able to improve there.
4. Quentin Moses - Georgia
Size: 6'5, 248
| College Position: DE
Moses, a junior, is considering the draft and if he did, he's a player teams running the 34 need to pay attention to. He's athletic and can change directions well which is important if he is to drop into coverage. He also has a great motor and has proven he can be a great pass rusher as he had 12 sacks this season.
5. Mark Anderson - Alabama
Size: 6'5, 253 | College Positions: DE
Anderson is a super pass rusher, too undersized for a 4-3, but projects very well as an OLB
6. Quentin Groves - Auburn
Size: 6'3, 248 | College Positions: DE
At 248 lbs, Groves is very undersized for a DE. However, he does hold his ground pretty well for a smaller end. He also has the pass rush ability teams look for, I'd expect Groves to be high on the boards of teams running 34s.
7. Copeland Bryan - Arizona
Size: 6'4, 240 | College Positions: DE, OLB
This former walk-on really put together a nice senior season, finishing with 7.5 sacks, including weaking havoc against USC and their top OT prospect Winston Justice. He has a good deal of experience at OLB and in coverage, so he projects very well to the 3-4.
8. Gaines Adams - Clemson
Size: 6'5, 260 | College Position: DE
This junior is a relentless pass rusher. He had 8.5 sacks this past season.
9. Mkristo Bruce - Washington State
Size: 6'6, 255 | College Position: DE
A great pass rusher, Bruce is only a junior, but if he were to declare, he'd have a lot of 3-4 teams interested in him. He finished the year with 10 sacks and can definitely get to the passer, but is raw in coverage.
10. Stanley McClover - Auburn
Size: 6'5, 260 | College Position: DE
Another junior, McClover is very explosive off the edge, but is quite raw which affects his draft position.
11. Brandon Guillory - LA-Monroe
Size: 6'4, 240 | College Position: DE
Reportedly running as fast as 4.42 in the forty, Guillory is a poor man's DeMarcus Ware. His 10.5 sacks this season prove he can get to the QB.
12. Mike Kudla - Ohio State
Size: 6'3, 265 | College Position: DE
Kudla is a weight room freak who is going to test well at the combine. He has played well for the Buckeyes as a situational rusher and will remind scouts of former Buckeye and current Patriot Mike Vrabel.
13. Daryl Tapp - Virginia Tech
Size: 6'0, 270 | College Positions: DE
I think Tapp projects better as a 4-3 RDE, because he has struggled the few times he's been asked to play in space. However, as a pure rush LB, he has possibilities. The Chargers haven't asked Merriman to drop much, he has pretty much been a rush man and Tapp could fit a similar role.
14. Parys Haralson - Tennessee
Size: 6'2, 248 | College Position: DE
Undersized, Haralson's pass rush ability makes him a good candidate for the 34..
15. Pierre Woods - Michigan
Size: 6'5, 249 | College Positions: OLB, DE
Woods has played OLB in Michigan's 3-4
and when the Wolverines have featured four down linemen, Woods has rushed with his hand down too. He has shown good pass rush ability and would be a great later round pickup for a team that runs the 34.
16. Charlton Keith - Kansas
17. Chris Gocong - Cal-Poly - 6'1, 255
18. Jeremy Mincey - Florida - 6'3, 262
19. Willie Evans - Mississippi State - 6'2, 270
20. Javon Nanton - Miami - 6'3, 240
21. Ryan LaCasse - Syracuse - 6'3, 249
22. Brent Hawkins - Illinois State - 6'3, 244
23. Montez Murphy - Baylor - 6'6, 263
24. John Chick - Utah State - 6'4, 248
25. Terrence Royal - South Florida - 6'3, 255