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Thread: The final word on the 3-4

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    The final word on the 3-4

    Dom Capers? A move to the 3-4 on a more consistent basis, you say? I've been seeing a lot of posts here regarding the drafting of an OLB. BIG mistake, even if Lawson is there; and he is a BEAST. But without the big stud up front, it doesn't matter who the linebackers are (ala Washington Redskins a few years back: Awesome LB's, NO solid DT's). The front seven's greatest need BY FAR is a young, massive, stud DT who will eventually replace Traylor as the NT in the 3-4. LB can wait. Give me Ngata (I haven't been this high on a player in a LONG time). If not, maybe trade down and give me Watson (and I say this with trepidation). But please, no OLB with #16. Traylor will most likely retire after this season, and someone must be groomed to take his place. In ZT, we have a superstar. In Crowder, we have a new young stud who has a TON of potential. In Spragan, Hodge, & Pope, we have some quality depth, albeit none of them is a true stud. In the 3-4, JT moves to the Open End. LB is covered for this season. Let's concern ourselves with it in the next draft or offseason. I would LOVE to have a speed rusher/chaos maker like Manny Lawson, but I must be adament about our need at NT/DT. Thoughts...?? Oh, and by the way, I'm sure that St. Nick has a plan for this that we fans are not aware of. I just hope that it's the right one...
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    Heres an article from Pro Football Weekly on the proliferation of the 3-4.

    The proliferation of the “34” defense has affected how scouts are preparing for the 2006 draft.

    One team in a division with multiple rivals who operate variations of a 3-4 alignment this season said the middle of the first round is prime territory for finding the right fit for that defense. He senses a willingness of teams to deal to ensure they get a player they’ve targeted.

    Pittsburgh is most often associated with the defense because of the team’s history using the 3-4 front. The Patriots, Jets, Cowboys, 49ers, Browns, Dolphins, Chargers and Raiders also used the 3-4 consistently last season. The Giants, Redskins, Ravens and Rams are among the others who intend to use the three-man front as a base defense at times this fall.

    That will not only create more competition in the first round, but we’re told to expect the slim pickings of pure 3-4 personnel to drive up the value of certain players who will go earlier than they might have in years past.

    “Just the way the (order) fell, there’s no chance a (Shawne) Merriman or Marcus Spears get past (pick No.) 10 or 12 in this draft,” said one AFC South scout. “The 3-4 teams seek a more specific breed of athlete than a conventional 4-3 might look at. There’s less room to fudge the difference between an ideal 3-4 linebacker and a 4-3 OLB.”

    The following is an alphabetical list of players coveted by the aforementioned 3-4 teams. Some could be drafted higher than expected because of their projected value within the defense:

    DL Brodrick Bunkley

    Bunkley has the ideal DT build but is capable of playing almost anywhere on the defensive line in a 3-4 defense. He’s strong and has quick-twitch explosiveness (4.16-second short shuttle). Bunkley could easily be a top-10 pick and can two-gap, split double-teams and hold up as a “zero” over the center.

    PFW projection: Early first round (picks 7-13)
    Best position fit: Defensive tackle
    Most likely destination: Lions

    LB Bobby Carpenter

    Despite concerns about Carpenter not being the best teammate, his workout was nearly as impressive as more coveted Buckeyes LB A.J. Hawk’s. At the Ohio State pro day, he displayed a 34 1/2-inch vertical, 10-foot-4 broad jump, ran a 4.62 40-yard dash and a 4.30 short shuttle. Carpenter is fully healed from the broken right leg he suffered last year and could easily slide into the back end of the first round. Carpenter can rush the passer — he played right defensive end in the Buckeyes’ nickel package — and fits in either a 4-3 or 3-4 with the ability to play inside or outside.

    PFW projection: Late first round (picks 21-32)
    Best position fit: Inside linebacker
    Most likely destination: Giants

    NT Orien Harris

    Harris was a nose tackle who played on a shade at Miami (Fla.) and has the versatility to play in either front. He has some size. There are teams who won’t consider Harris because he doesn’t always show the desired fire or a football demeanor.

    PFW projection: Second round
    Best position fit: Nose tackle
    Most likely destination: Bills

    LB A.J. Hawk

    Hawk is a very good athlete who can run, cover and hit. He’d be fine inside or outside in most defenses. He possesses great character and leadership traits. Hawk ran 4.59 in the 40 and can handle responsibility as a rookie. Played point guard on a successful high school basketball team. The only real issue scouts voiced on Hawk was his lack of great height (6-foot-1), but that is not a complaint of every team. Hawk is very good to outstanding in almost all other areas.

    PFW projection: Early first round (picks 2-6)
    Best position fit: Inside linebacker
    Most likely destination: Packers

    DE Julian Jenkins

    At Stanford, Jenkins played as a five-technique in the 3-4 but was more productive as a 4-3 left end, when he can split to a seven- or nine-technique. More strength than speed at 280 pounds. He’s not coveted by 4-3 defensive teams.

    PFW projection: Third or fourth round
    Best position fit: 3-4 defensive end
    Most likely destination: Jets

    OLB-DE Manny Lawson

    He’s almost 6-6 and 240 pounds and runs the 40 in under 4.46. He can make an impact as a rush linebacker, but he lacks the bulk and strength to fight off blocks and make consistent plays against the run. While extremely explosive and a workout warrior, teams do wonder if Lawson can be effective when his speed is neutralized.

    PFW projection: Top 20
    Best position fit: Drop linebacker
    Most likely destination: Cowboys

    NT Haloti Ngata

    The best pure nose tackle in the draft, Ngata is a 340-pounder who’ll need to be poked, prodded and pushed by his coaches and teammates at the next level. But if he finds the right program, he could be a major asset. Scouts have said 3-4 nose tackle is one of the most difficult to adequately fill. Ngata isn’t all power, either. He can penetrate with a first step that is above average for his size and would be outstanding occupying blocks as a two-gap tackle in a 4-3, keeping his linebackers free to roam.

    PFW projection: Early first round (picks 7-12)
    Best position fit: Nose tackle
    Most likely destination: Browns

    LB DeMeco Ryans

    Ryans played all three LB positions at Alabama. He’s field-fast but has 4.65 stopwatch speed and weighed less than 240 pounds at the Combine. Ryans is a fringe first-round pick because of his instincts and work ethic. A coachable workaholic and the kind of player teams like the Patriots and Steelers flock to.

    PFW projection: Late first round (picks 22-32)
    Best position fit: Outside linebacker
    Most likely destination: Jaguars

    NT Gabe Watson

    The space-eater from Michigan was considered an underachiever throughout most of his college career. He was able to acquit himself to a degree at Senior Bowl practices. The interior plugger is said to be a step below Oregon NT Haloti Ngata in terms of Draft Day value, but he has the ability to flourish in the NFL. He’s very strong and can dominate when the light is on.

    PFW projection: Second round
    Best position fit: Nose tackle
    Most likely destination: Ravens

    DE-OLB Kamerion Wimbley

    Ideally suited for the rush LB spot in a 3-4 defense, Wimbley could be another DeMarcus Ware or play right end in a 4-3. He has a burst and showed in workouts the athleticism and flexibility to work at linebacker. Some teams do wonder if Wimbley could be the next Jamal Reynolds and will be scared off by the history of Florida State defensive linemen falling short in the NFL.

    PFW projection: Mid-first round (picks 12-21)
    Best position fit: Rush linebacker
    Most likely destination: Patriots

    DT Rod Wright

    Long and lean at nearly 6-6, 300, Wright looks the part and can play as a five-technique or a three-technique, but he played the nose at Texas. Some say he plays smaller than he measures but believe Wright can get by on quickness and impressive straight-line speed. Beating double-teams as a down lineman in the 3-4 must be taught.

    PFW projection: Second to fourth rounds
    Best position fit: Three-technique DT … if he keeps his weight at 300 pounds
    Most likely destination: Steelers

    DE Mario Williams

    The second coming of Julius Peppers to some, Williams might be a more explosive Richard Seymour if he lands with a 3-4 team. He’s young but can play either end or tackle and be a star immediately. His workout numbers are equal to or better than Peppers’ in most areas. Bigger but not as stout or naturally strong as Michael Strahan but could play left or right end in a 4-3. Has unique ability for his size and is expected to be a star.

    PFW projection: Early first round (picks 1-2)
    Best position fit: Left defensive end
    Most likely destination: Saints

    http://www.profootballweekly.com/
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    i know CLEVELAND loves Wimbley and Lawson so we'd prob take one or carpenter adn move him to ILB once ZT retires b/c CC is more comfortbale at OLB then ILB
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    I'd love to get Watson in the 3rd.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXFinFan
    I'd love to get Watson in the 3rd.
    he wont last
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    ngata and bunkley should be gone by our pick. two sick dts if one falls i wouldnt mind grabbing one. buffallo, detroit, cleveland, will probably grab those 2 and the other will take wimbley/lawson. cleveland is the only threat to grab wimbley/lawson before our pick. greenway is the only other olb who might be gone by our pick. other than that, we have our picking of de/olb (wimbley, lawson) and olb (sims, greenway, carpeneter). maybe someone behind us is in love with one of them and will give us a 2nd or 3rd this year or next to move down 3-6 spots.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BermudaTriangle
    Dom Capers? A move to the 3-4 on a more consistent basis, you say? I've been seeing a lot of posts here regarding the drafting of an OLB. BIG mistake, even if Lawson is there; and he is a BEAST. But without the big stud up front, it doesn't matter who the linebackers are (ala Washington Redskins a few years back: Awesome LB's, NO solid DT's). The front seven's greatest need BY FAR is a young, massive, stud DT who will eventually replace Traylor as the NT in the 3-4. LB can wait. Give me Ngata (I haven't been this high on a player in a LONG time). If not, maybe trade down and give me Watson (and I say this with trepidation). But please, no OLB with #16. Traylor will most likely retire after this season, and someone must be groomed to take his place. In ZT, we have a superstar. In Crowder, we have a new young stud who has a TON of potential. In Spragan, Hodge, & Pope, we have some quality depth, albeit none of them is a true stud. In the 3-4, JT moves to the Open End. LB is covered for this season. Let's concern ourselves with it in the next draft or offseason. I would LOVE to have a speed rusher/chaos maker like Manny Lawson, but I must be adament about our need at NT/DT. Thoughts...?? Oh, and by the way, I'm sure that St. Nick has a plan for this that we fans are not aware of. I just hope that it's the right one...
    God created Traylor with the 3-4 defense in mind. He is both a Dolphins fan and 3-4 fan. Why draft a DT that high when we have a stud in Traylor right now, plus two young up and comming players (Wright and Vickerson). Doesnt make any sense to me unless saban see's one of the top DT's as an upgrade right now.
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    Im surprised nobody has brought up John McCargo from NC State in this group. Apparently he's flying under the media radar, but there are teams ahead of us thinking of taking him in the first. He's 6'1" and a biscuit over 300, but he's got that low center of gravity that one usually looks for in a 3-4 NT.
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    3-4 linebackers

    3-4 linebackers are traditionally drafted lower then 4-3 linebackers. If Saban is going to draft a LB, it'll probably be with the third-round pick, not the first-round pick.

    Look at various 3-4 linebackers around the league, and where they were selected.

    Pittsburgh: Joey Porter 3rd Rd; Clark Haggans 5th Rd.; Larry Foote 4th Rd.. Look at their linebackers going way back. Kendrell Bell, 2nd Rd; Jason Gildon 4th Rd; Earl Holmes, 4th Rd.; Carlos Emmons, 7th Rd.; Levon Kirkland, 2nd Rd.; Greg Lloyd, 6th Rd.; Hardy Nickerson, 5th Rd., on and on and on.

    San Diego: Shawne Merriman, 1st Rd.; Donnie Edwards, 2nd Rd., Steve Foley, 3rd Rd., Randall Godfrey, 2nd Rd.

    NE: Teddy Bruschi, 3rd Rd.; Roosevelt Colvin, 4th Rd., Willie McGiniest, 1st Rd., Mike Vrabel, 3rd Rd.

    You can do a similar exercise for each team that runs the 3-4, and you can even do so for historical teams that have run the 3-4. Remember years ago when Dom Capers was the HC in Carolina they had a pretty good 3-4 with a bunch of low and middle-draft picks like Lamar Lathon and Sam Mills, or back when he was DC in New Orleans when they ran that 3-4 with Pat Swilling, Sam Mills, Vaunghn Johnson and Ricky Jackson. Only Johnson was a first-round pick, and that was in the USFL supplemental draft.

    You do not need high draft picks to run the 3-4 at a very high level. You need system players. Jason Taylor and Channing Crowder were 3rd Rd. picks, Zach Thomas was a 5th., so on our own roster we have ample proof that we do not need to nab a linebacker in the first to fill a need. WR, DB and NT are far more difficult positions to fill, and should be addressed long before LB.
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