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NFL.com Kirwan: How prospects stack up from a 3-4 perspective

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Do it for the Vine! Staff Member

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    (March 17, 2007) -- Draft boards are set up differently around the National Football League. A team that uses a 3-4 defense is going to see talent from a much different perspective than a 4-3 team, for example.

    It wasn't too long ago that a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers merely had to figure out which college defensive ends could become 3-4 outside linebackers in order to continue to build their famous 3-4 package.

    But over time, things have changed and now the Patriots, Jets, Browns, Chargers, Cowboys and 49ers are all looking for the same players. When you throw in the hybrid defenses that like to jump back and forth from 3-4 to 4-3 packages, there is a much bigger drain on all of the front-seven positions for the 3-4. Don't get me wrong -- great players can play in any scheme, but building a front-seven unit is much different.

    So, where is the talent the 3-4 teams are looking for at nose tackle, defensive end, inside linebacker and, of course, the all-important outside linebackers?

    There are really two basic 3-4 packages being played in the NFL today. For the lack of a better way of describing them, I will classify one package as the Charger 3-4 and the other as the Patriot 3-4.

    San Diego loves to slant its defensive ends almost every play and bring at least one outside linebacker to create a four-man front after the ball is snapped. Because the ends are usually moving on the snap, they put more of a premium on quickness than the other 3-4 teams. The Patriot 3-4 calls for some movement, but will play more of a two-gap style from the defensive ends, so bulk and height are critical.

    Teams that use the 4-3 are looking for edge rushers at defensive end and would most likely have a totally different draft board at DE.

    At nose tackle, all of the 3-4 teams want a massive man who can command double-team blocks, and speed to stunt is not that critical. The 4-3 teams are looking for a nose tackle about 30 pounds lighter who can move and create blocking problems with stunts.

    An inside linebacker in the 3-4 has to be able to take on a 320-pound guard straight up and has to have the bulk and power to neutralize him. A 4-3 inside linebacker is usually going to be lined up off the hip of the nose tackle or under tackle, and that makes it difficult for the guards to get a clean shot at him, which means lighter, quicker linebackers are what the 4-3 teams are in search of on draft weekend.

    The outside backers in a 3-4 are pass rushers who can drop in coverage and are high-priced. An outside linebacker in a 4-3 usually has to be a guy who can hold off a tight-end route and be a contain player to turn back a run play to the inside. There are a number of front-seven positions in a 4-3 defense that command a bigger pay check than a 4-3 SAM backer.

    In the early '90s, the few 3-4 teams could easily pick up the guys they wanted across the front seven in Rounds 4-6, but with at least seven teams looking for the same players, times have changed.

    Look at the Patriots, for example. Their starting three defensive linemen are all first-round selections and they paid big money to acquire OLB Adalius Thomas this year in free agency. Ask any 3-4 defensive coordinator what he wants at every position and he will say Richard Seymour (Patriots) at defensive end, Jamal Williams (Chargers) at nose tackle, James Farrior (Steelers) at inside linebacker, and Shawne Merriman (Chargers) at outside linebacker.

    I asked a number of coaches and scouts if they could help me stack a 3-4 draft board, so here are the names we came up with for a 3-4 front.

    NOSE TACKLE

    ALAN BRANCH, MICHIGAN (Round 1) -- He could play in any front, but at 6-foot-5, 324 pounds and 33 bench presses, he could force that double team the coaches desperately want from the nose, and he can run.

    TANK TYLER, N.C. STATE (Round 2) -- Not the same size as Branch (6-2, 306) but with 42 reps on the bench, he has the power to do the job.

    PAUL SOLARI, UTAH (Round 3) -- A 6-foot-4 344-pound space eater who should force that all-important extra blocker to move him, and that frees up an inside backer.

    DEFENSIVE END

    ADAM CARRIKER, NEBRASKA (Round 1) -- A big player (6-6, 296) who can control the line of scrimmage with his long arms and that all-important height like Seymour.

    JUSTIN HARRELL, TENNESSEE (Round 2) -- He has medical issues but did well at the Combine and could be a factor (6-4, 300) at any of the three defensive-line spots.

    RYAN McBEAN, OKLAHOMA STATE (Round 3) -- He can move for a big man (6-4, 286) and showed the quickness at the Senior Bowl to play in the Charger style of 3-4.

    INSIDE LINEBACKERS

    DAVID HARRIS, MICHIGAN (Round 2) -- Big and thick (6-2, 243) to take on a guard, and at the Combine, he ran the 40 in 4.62, but more important -- a 4.29 short shuttle, which suggests ha can change direction and get off blocks.

    ANTHONY WATERS, CLEMSON (Round 4) -- Medical questions but a late workout could resolve the issue. As one scout said, "Go back and look at his junior game against N.C. State. This guy (6-2, 245) is ideal for the strong inside backer spot."

    DESMOND BISHOP, CALIFORNIA (Round 5) -- A few years ago, this is the kind of guy (6-2, 239) a 3-4 team would pick up in Round 7 or as an undrafted free agent. One coach said, "Today, he could go a little higher with the 3-4 teams all looking."

    OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

    ANTHONY SPENCER, PURDUE (Round 1) -- A defensive end (6-3, 261) who can run 4.7 and a 4.4 short shuttle with 27 tackles for a loss last season and 21 career sacks is a prime candidate.

    LAMAR WOODLEY, MICHIGAN (Round 2) -- He's short for a defensive end (6-1, 266) but 52½ tackles for a loss and 24 sacks in his career make him a prime OLB candidate.

    TIM SHAW, PENN STATE (Round 4) -- Shaw has played defensive end and linebacker (6-1, 236) and if you study the Belichick package, he loves guys who did both in college. Tedy Bruschi, Rosevelt Colvin and Mike Vrabel all had those kind of backgrounds.

    ZAK DeOSSIE, BROWN (Round 4) -- I don't care that Zak played in the Ivy League; he is perfect for the 3-4 OLB spot. He runs 4.6 in the 40 and an outstanding 4.2 in the short shuttle. He's strong (6-4, 250) and productive. He has long-snapping skills like his father Steve (former NFL player) and he knows the game.

    There are other players who fit the bill for the 3-4 style of defense, but where you take them with so many looking for them is a tougher question. The men running the draft process for New England (Scott Pioli), San Diego (A.J. Smith), Pittsburgh (Kevin Colbert), Cleveland (Phil Savage), the Jets (Terry Bradway), Dallas (Stephen Jones) and San Francisco (Scott McCloughan) would love to find some key players later in the draft, but I think those days are long gone.

    http://www.nfl.com/draft/story/10066679
  2. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    I believe that's the "Phillips 3-4" there, Patty.

    DeOssie is probably the most intriguing player the draft to me.
  3. Biggems

    Biggems White and Nerdy

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    wow i thought Zak was an ILB......but heck, i like the versatility of him being able to play inside or out
  4. VACowboy

    VACowboy Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    ci'd love for him to be there for us in the 4th, but I'm betting he gets picked in the 3rd.
  5. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    He played ILB at Brown. When he was recruited they had him at safety. Crazy, I know. I'm sure at that level of play (Ivy League), there's no way OTs could handle a guy with his size and speed. Either something's fishy with DeOssie or the Brown coaches just have their heads up their you know what.

    Yup. The Patriots will get him in the 3rd. We're ahead of them, so we can get him then if we want -- it's just a question of whether we'd be willing to spend that pick on him. I would.
  6. jrumann59

    jrumann59 Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if the DeOssie kids has any relations to the Ex-Giant Steve DeOssie
  7. Big Dakota

    Big Dakota New Member

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    You mean ex Cowboy??? Yes he's his boy
  8. Big Dakota

    Big Dakota New Member

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    I'm doing a mock and i'm considering DeOssie in the 3rd, but i have a hard time passing on some of the DE's Brian Robison, Dan Bazuin, and Jay Moore.
  9. Rack Bauer

    Rack Bauer Federal Agent

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    He would be a helluva second day pick, but he'll probably go in the 3rd. Not really a need for us, but so long as some other really intriguing player at a diff position didn't drop, I'd take him.

    We did it with Hatcher so it wouldn't be surprising for us to do it with DeOssie.

    Did you even bother reading the article?


  10. theebs

    theebs Believe!!!!

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    Yes steve de-ossie is his dad and he was a cowboy, until He decided to mouth off to dave wanstedt. Jimmy and Dave werent having it and they sent him packing.

    he ended up with parcells in ny.

    Much like everson walls, he and jimmy hated each other and everson talking to roy green after a cardinals game got jimmy all ticked off and then everson was sent packing.

    He ended up with parcells in ny.
  11. jobberone

    jobberone Genetically engineered moderating Orangutan Staff Member

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    I don't like the idea of picking him.

    We can find people with the same skills, size and athleticism from big schools.

    I'm tired of reaches. Obviously guys from small schools can play but I like the odds better by staying with big name schools.
  12. Rack Bauer

    Rack Bauer Federal Agent

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    That's a pretty ignorant way of thinking.


    Isn't it smarter to scout ALL players and add ALL players to the draft board instead of just "big school" players?

    What school did Jerry Rice go to? What about TO? Tony Romo? DeMarcus Ware? Yeah, we could of done much better w/o those guys.

    :rolleyes:
  13. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    Strange, but that's exactly what I was thinking when I typed that. It's virtually the same type of pick at virtually the same position. Developmental guy with crazy potential.

    If you can find 3 defensive players in the past 5 drafts with these measurables (not counting Ware), I'll Paypal you $100.

    Zak DeOssie
    Height: 6'04-5/8"
    Weight: 250
    40 Yrd Dash: 4.58
    20 Yrd Dash: 2.66
    10 Yrd Dash: 1.56
    Bench Reps: 26
    Vertical Jump: 34 1/2
    Broad Jump: 10'2"
    20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.22
    3-Cone Drill: 6.89
  14. Big Dakota

    Big Dakota New Member

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    Simply OUTSTANDING numbers. We are still 42 days away and this kid could be the Ware of this draft as far as LBs go. He's considered a late day 1 very early day 2 porspect with 6 weeks to go. By late April he could move in that 53 area where we are picking in the second.


    When is his pro day?
  15. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    Wednesday. I'm not sure I'd want to do much if I were him. Maybe just do LB drills.
  16. Big Dakota

    Big Dakota New Member

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    Pretty hard NOT to stand on those numbers. His daddy couldn't dream of those ;)
  17. sago1

    sago1 Active Member

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    H's also got L/S ability which saves us a lot to be used elsewhere. Currently Ladocouver is our L/S but that's all he does. With that extra slot, we could keep an additional OL, WR, LB.
  18. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    so many tough choices...
  19. 5mics

    5mics Next Year's Champions

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    Agreed! For example: Brian Robison > Zak DeOssie.....
  20. jackrussell

    jackrussell Last of the Duke Street Kings

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    Yes...I have a Steve DeOssie story.....

    In the late 80's, when Landry was still coach....my wife and I with 2 of our friends traveled to Detroit for the weekend to see the Cowboys/Lions game.

    We went out to dinner that Saturday evening.....and at a large table next to us none other than Steve DeOssie. While there were quite a few folks sitting there, Steve pretty much kept the waitress busy just in bringing him bottles of beer.

    We found that to be amusing...a night before the game...the guy put down way more than you would expect.

    Well, it wasn't long afterward, that DeOssie either admitted publicly, or they had some sort of intervention about his 'drinking problem'. I don't recall if he went through any rehab or what....but we certainly weren't stunned at this revelation.

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