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View Full Version : The Merling debate.. DE or OLB?



Pinkboy
04-27-2008, 09:44 PM
Parcells, if you look at his 3-4 defenses, always had 260 to 270 pound OLB's and 300 pound DE's (look at Dallas).. Last year Merling played at 270, so this looks like a OLB to me when you consider Parcell's history.

Moreover, the following is a list of all the teams that played the “34” defensive scheme during the 2007 season, along with their starting DE’s and their listed weights.
This information was obtained off of the official NFL web site and each teams depth chart.
I believe the numbers speak for themselves.

Team.......Def. rank......Strong (Lt.) Side.......Weak (Rt.) Side
Steelers.......# 1...........Easom 305 #............Keisel 285 #
Patriots........# 4...........Warren 300 #...........Seymour 310 #
Ravens........# 6...........Edwards 315 #..........Ngata 340 #
Dallas..........# 9...........Spears 305 #............Canty 300 #
Chargers......# 14........Olshansky 309 #........Castillo 290 #
Jets..............# 18..........Ellis 285 #...............Coleman 295 #
49’ers..........# 25...........Young 305 #............Douglas 292 #
Browns.........# 30...........Roye 330 #.............Smith 320 #

I’m sure most of us can see the trend, however for those arithmetic challenged.
The average size of a starting NFL “34” DE is 305 #
The average size of a Strong side “34” DE is 307 #
The average size of a Weak side “34” DE is 304 #

Of the 16 starting “34” DE’s in the NFL only 2 are smaller than 290 #, 4 are smaller than 295 # and only 5 are smaller than 300 #.

Phillip Merling would not just be a small “34” DE, he would be a statistical anomaly at fully 30 # smaller than the average starting “34” DE and still 10 # smaller that the smallest.
It is important to note that all but 1 of the DE’s smaller that 300 #’s play the Weak (rt.) Side

Don’t get me wrong Merling is one of the very best DE’s in this draft (behind only C. Long) and is a great value at #32, just not as a “34” DE. He’ll get pushed around, beat-up, worn down and run over as a “34” DE in the NFL.

Now comes Kendall Langford at pick # 66.
6’-6” 295 #, this is actually a better pick for a “34” DE.

Pinkboy
04-27-2008, 10:08 PM
Another thing to point out- on the steelers side where Keisel plays DE at a small 285#, that side had the worst run defense in the NFL at a whopping 10 yards per carry against it..

So yes, big defensive ends are needed in a 3-4 defense, like the big DE's Parcells instituted in Dallas. Or else you will get run over.

Look for Merling to be an outside or inside linebacker for us if he plays at his playing weight in college. Or he will have to put on some major pounds to play DE.. At least to about 295. But preferably 300.

zach8111
04-27-2008, 10:21 PM
he should lose a little weight and play OLB. Chris Long was 272 when they said he was too small to play DE and would play OLB. i'd like him to get to around 266 and play OLB.

WaxOn WaxOff
04-27-2008, 10:24 PM
Props to your strong work, here. Merling is listed at 280lb in the 2007 Clemson University official roster. Last number I saw for him was above 280lb at his workout at Clemson on the day before the draft. He is a junior coming out early. I think with a proper NFL weight training program, he will play at closr to 300 within 2 years. I don't think Merling has the speed to be a full time LB, although he could drop into coverage in special formations to keep the Offense off balance. I have watched almost every one of his games the last two years.

DUB
04-27-2008, 10:31 PM
That is my question, his speed. Sounds to me like he is a run stuffer, not much of an edge rusher. My guess is he puts on weight and lands at DE.

FinFanatic80
04-27-2008, 10:37 PM
DE for sure.

DUB
04-27-2008, 10:46 PM
DE for sure.

Yeah, Ireland says "he provides nice depth at DE" on miamidolphins.com

PerfectTeam
04-27-2008, 11:00 PM
this is the one pick im not overly sure of where he is going to play. merling is athletic enough to play SOLB i believe. he is quite the run defender though so putting him at LDE and Langford at RDE makes sense too. at the end of the day though i believe he stays at DE. holliday i dont think will be here for more than 2 years. starks i believe is going to move to the nose. so we have some good young depth on the DL though with rod wright, kendall langford, lionel dotson, phillip merling and paul soliai at end. starks at the nose when ferguson retires. dotson being able to play the nose in a pinch.

Digital
04-27-2008, 11:17 PM
No debate, Merling and Langford are both DE's. Merling will be the RDE and Langford will be a cover for both DE's and compete for time primarily as a LDE.

Merling doesn't have the speed, explosion, agility or quickness to be an OLB in our system. He's not very bright and is very limited in his pass rushing moves. Merling is a good athlete with nice length, but he's not ever going to be the top echelon pass rusher that we need in a 34 OLB. Honestly, I question this kid's ability to learn. To get the most out of Merling we need to Keep It Simple ... if you know what I mean. I definitely see him bulking up and being a space eater at DE, blocking some passes, occupying multiple blockers, and occasionally causing problems leading to pressures and the odd sack. But, he just doesn't have the talent, skills or brain to excel as a 34 OLB.

Langford probably needs more work on technique, and isn't quite the physical specimen that Merling is, but Langford does have the ability to gain all that and become a really special DE. All in all, Chris Canty is smarter than both of them and muuuuuch smarter than Merling. Merling has less physical ability than Canty IMHO, but they're in the same class. Ultimately, Merling might become a solid but not spectacular DE, nothing more IMHO.

SamIam
04-27-2008, 11:32 PM
No debate, Merling and Langford are both DE's. Merling will be the RDE and Langford will be a cover for both DE's and compete for time primarily as a LDE.

Merling doesn't have the speed, explosion, agility or quickness to be an OLB in our system. He's not very bright and is very limited in his pass rushing moves. Merling is a good athlete with nice length, but he's not ever going to be the top echelon pass rusher that we need in a 34 OLB. Honestly, I question this kid's ability to learn. To get the most out of Merling we need to Keep It Simple ... if you know what I mean. I definitely see him bulking up and being a space eater at DE, blocking some passes, occupying multiple blockers, and occasionally causing problems leading to pressures and the odd sack. But, he just doesn't have the talent, skills or brain to excel as a 34 OLB.

Langford probably needs more work on technique, and isn't quite the physical specimen that Merling is, but Langford does have the ability to gain all that and become a really special DE. All in all, Chris Canty is smarter than both of them and muuuuuch smarter than Merling. Merling has less physical ability than Canty IMHO, but they're in the same class. Ultimately, Merling might become a solid but not spectacular DE, nothing more IMHO.

Just a question here.... where did you get all that from?

Awsi Dooger
04-28-2008, 02:35 AM
No debate, Merling and Langford are both DE's. Merling will be the RDE and Langford will be a cover for both DE's and compete for time primarily as a LDE.

Merling doesn't have the speed, explosion, agility or quickness to be an OLB in our system. He's not very bright and is very limited in his pass rushing moves. Merling is a good athlete with nice length, but he's not ever going to be the top echelon pass rusher that we need in a 34 OLB. Honestly, I question this kid's ability to learn. To get the most out of Merling we need to Keep It Simple ... if you know what I mean. I definitely see him bulking up and being a space eater at DE, blocking some passes, occupying multiple blockers, and occasionally causing problems leading to pressures and the odd sack. But, he just doesn't have the talent, skills or brain to excel as a 34 OLB.

Langford probably needs more work on technique, and isn't quite the physical specimen that Merling is, but Langford does have the ability to gain all that and become a really special DE. All in all, Chris Canty is smarter than both of them and muuuuuch smarter than Merling. Merling has less physical ability than Canty IMHO, but they're in the same class. Ultimately, Merling might become a solid but not spectacular DE, nothing more IMHO.

I can't see how Merling's debated as an OLB. I don't remember one play in which he flashed OLB. The frame appears to have plenty of growth potential.

My instinct is this is the one early pick where we failed to get lucky, in terms of who fell in front of us. Long obviously was a given and I'm convinced we targeted Henne, but Merling was a pure value selection, at a position of need, when the late first round broke against us.

That may be way off but it's the impression I had immediately, when ESPN showed the Dolphin draft room prior to the pick. Parcells looked semi-disgusted and Ireland almost seemed like he was steadying things, emphasizing the positive. I had no idea who we were going to pick, but for a minute before Merling's name was called I said to the people watching with me that it appeared to be a consolation prize.

Our incumbent linemen are inept on both sides. That's what it boils down to. And it's always been downplayed on this site, too much hoopla over rubbish like Hadnot and Alabi and Roth. Parcells isn't fooled so we stock up on linemen. Shocking development.

I try to watch from a handicapping perspective and other teams feature barrel chested linemen with athletic ability and evil intent. We send blobs out there. Or guys who don't fit the mold for the position. I think I posted a few months ago that Crowder was the only player among our front seven who looks the part, from a prototype perspective, but he's like a child's toy improperly set to run around in circles.

Every year when we play Jacksonville in an exhibition, and/or scrimmage against them, it seems like an unfair fight in the trenches. Last year we were physically mauled against them in the first half of the opening exhibition.

I still think Parcells has a bit too much blue collar in him, and not enough priority in upfield disruptive quickness like the Giants feature on defense. But this franchise for a quarter century hasn't been a fraction as interesting as it was in the glory years of the early to mid '70s, when we dictated in the trenches.

Finfanforever
04-28-2008, 09:03 AM
no doubt...DE in a 3-4. He's not fast enough to play OLB.

Boomer
04-28-2008, 11:37 AM
I think Merling will start by rotating at end, but his future IMO is outside at LB. He ran a timed 4.63 at the Clemson Timing Day for NFL scouts last April, so he's no slouch.

BlueFin
04-28-2008, 11:41 AM
I think Merling will start by rotating at end, but his future IMO is outside at LB. He ran a timed 4.63 at the Clemson Timing Day for NFL scouts last April, so he's no slouch.

I'm assuming his slow combine time was the sports hernia?

Boomer
04-28-2008, 11:41 AM
Indeed.

arsenal
04-28-2008, 11:49 AM
Ngata doesn't play NT for the ravens?!?!

anyway i dont merling fitting at either spot at his current weight... he might fall into the Roth category who will have to either gain to play at DE, or lose to move to OLB (though Merling would be a much better OLB than Roth)...

fishypete
04-28-2008, 11:55 AM
I think Merling will start by rotating at end, but his future IMO is outside at LB. He ran a timed 4.63 at the Clemson Timing Day for NFL scouts last April, so he's no slouch.

First Hello Boomer...and I agree...as long as Taylor is a Dolphin...and I should also add Porter...he'll start off at DE.

My guess is we haven't seen the last of the roster cuts...wouldn't surprise me to see Roth, Crowder and Martin traded for 2009 picks.

WaxOn WaxOff
04-28-2008, 12:04 PM
I didn't realize he was that fast. He doesn't look that fast in an actual game. He came to Clemson as a tight end. Perhaps he could play LB. I think Fin Fans are going to be surprised with his pass rushing abilities. He was still learning the position. Clemson rotates DL all game, so I highly doubt he was in for the number of pass plays a Calais Campbell was in, but I have no data to back that up. 78 Tackles,17.0 TFL,7.0Sacks as a junior is pretty decent, considering Clemson's policy of rotating DLman gamelong.


I think Merling will start by rotating at end, but his future IMO is outside at LB. He ran a timed 4.63 at the Clemson Timing Day for NFL scouts last April, so he's no slouch.

zach8111
04-28-2008, 01:49 PM
i think he will play DE until jason taylor is gone and move to SOLB

The Juggernaut
04-28-2008, 02:10 PM
I think he will be a SOLB from the outset but unless theres a trade or they bench Porter he won't start. He's similar to Greg Ellis who Dallas had playing the position. Porter is out of position at SOLB as it is, which is why we tried so hard so sign Calvin Pace. That is based on his playing weight last year, but if he was a guy struggling to keep his weight down I can see them making him a DE eventually.

MrEd
04-28-2008, 09:21 PM
I think Merling will start by rotating at end, but his future IMO is outside at LB. He ran a timed 4.63 at the Clemson Timing Day for NFL scouts last April, so he's no slouch.

Hmm? Now after thinking about how much MIA went after Calvin Pace via FA and the 2nd option being Ghoulston or Chris Long makes Merling being picked to play OLB makes some sense after all...

Stoobz
04-28-2008, 09:24 PM
Add bulk, work out and play DE.