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ILB Biggest Need?

Discussion in 'The Bill Nunn Draft Room' started by Go Deep, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. mac daddyo

    mac daddyo Well-Known Member

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  2. SpeedyMikeWallace

    SpeedyMikeWallace Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure that the 3-4 is finished now. Hoke is retired, Hampton probably can only go a few plays a drive, and McClendon is decent, but not one the same level as the other two. Now, if you go 4-3, you can have a DL of Heyward-Keisel-Ziggy-Woodley with LBs being Harrison-Timmons-Worilds.

    So, OLB might actually be a bigger need than ILB.
     
  3. gpguy

    gpguy Well-Known Member

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    I'm highly doubting they go to a 4-3. However in a 4-3 Worilds would be a DE (like he was in College) just like Woodley. And one of the other LBs (Sylvestor, etc) would be the other OLB.
     
  4. HugeSnack

    HugeSnack Well-Known Member

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    Our personnel is so versitile, you could have said this for any year

    2008:
    DL: Woodley-Smith-Hampton-Keisel
    LB: Harrison-Farrior-Timmons

    I don't see it happening just because one of our positions drops out. That happens all the time. Happened with Aaron Smith. We replaced him.
     
  5. SpeedyMikeWallace

    SpeedyMikeWallace Well-Known Member

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    I say this because:

    1. The Steelers haven't even attempted to address the 3-4 DT position knowing that Hoke and Hampton are nearly done
    2. Keisel and Ziggy are more like interior 4-3 lineman than tradition 3-4 DE
    3. Heyward and Woodley are very much capable of being 4-3 DE
    4. LeBeau's age
    5. Tomlin's history with the 4-3
     
  6. HugeSnack

    HugeSnack Well-Known Member

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    Tomlin was a 4-3 defensive guy before he got here. Since then, he's had nothing but better defenses than what he had before. Maybe he was won over?

    I think they are satisfied with Keisel's play in a 3-4 ;) After 11 years, I don't think he is more like anything.

    The fact that they haven't drafted a nose tackle doesn't mean they are planning a switch to 4-3. They have addressed it with McLendon, who is quite good it seems. They also didn't expect both proven starters to go down this year. They probably thought they had more time. I did. Hoke's a year younger than Hamp, and has way, way, way less mileage. I thought he'd play another 2 or so, possibly starting for a year during the gap.

    Recent drafting suggests more 3-4, not a switch. Yes, all our guys are versitile. But Jason Worilds and Thaddeus Gibson were specifically taken to be 3-4 OLBs. Worilds is a perfect example, because a small DE in college, he would never hold up as DE in a 3-4 or 4-3 in the NFL. He's made to be a 3-4 OLB. Perhaps he could switch to a 4-3 OLB, but that is a major position change. If that's what they wanted, there were plenty of "real" 4-3 OLBs out there. It would be nuts to draft Worilds anywhere ahead of the 7th round if they were planning to switch to the 4-3. Chris Carter is the same way. You don't draft a small DE in college to play OLB in a 4-3, you draft a linebacker for that. Carter has no business near a 4-3, he is 3-4 OLB all the way... Cam Heyward was actually a 3-4 DE in college!
     
  7. SpeedyMikeWallace

    SpeedyMikeWallace Well-Known Member

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    Hampton is 34 (35 by the start of next season), Hoke is 35 (36 in a few months). They've known for a few seasons where these guys were and have done nothing. McClendon is decent, but do you really think they'll stick with him just for the sake of sticking with the 3-4 when a 4-3 DL looks that good?

    I think we're still a 3-4 only because Tomlin didn't want to mess with the championship team and staff he was handed. That team (and a certain critical staff member) is getting older and the best way for him to make that transition from 3-4 to 4-3 without much setback is with highly versatile players.

    Heyward is much too athletic to be considered a normal 3-4 DE, same with Ziggy. I think those guys were drafted to be 4-3 DL or at least to give Tomlin the option of it.

    As long as LeBeau is around, they'll be 3-4. When he retires, don't be surprised to see the Steelers lining up 4-3.
     
  8. HugeSnack

    HugeSnack Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, I was wrong about their ages, but Hoke is was a rookie in 2002 and Hampton was drafted in 2001. And considering he's probably only averaged something like 6-8 snaps per game in his whole career, I stand by my defense that he is much younger in football terms. His play has not dropped. He played well this year like he always does. I absolutely think he could have played this year with McLendon if he hadn't been hurt.

    We'll have to agree to disagree on the 4-3 "looking that good." I'm aware each of those guys could play the position you assigned, with the possible exception of Worilds, but that doesn't change the fact that it would be a change of position for all of them, and they'd have to either play a position that they haven't played since college or haven't played ever. Could they pull it off? Maybe. Would there be growing pains along the way? Absolutely. Would it be an improvement? I see no reason to think so. Harrison and Worilds would undoubtedly suffer. Woodley could probably pull it off, but could he really be better than he is now? That's a lot to expect. Everyone else would be the same if we're lucky. Maybe Ziggy would improve, but that's the only one I can even imagine.

    Tomlin is more integral in drafting than LeBeau. He wouldn't be drafting 3-4 personnel left and right just to throw it all out the window as soon as LeBeau retires. I know a lot of our guys are versitile, but we took 3 guys in the last 2 years that cannot play in the 4-3. That would be downright stupid if he intended to switch, knowing LeBeau could hang 'em up any minute.

    As far as I can tell, all you've got is their failure to properly address the NT position, which means nothing to me for a couple of reasons:

    -They didn't address the OL for years either, and it wasn't because they were going to play without one, it was because they were arrogant enough to think they didn't need to.
    -At the beginning of this year, NT was a position for which we had to make a plan for the future, but no one would have guessed both Hampton and Hoke would be gone. At least one of them figured to be around, and a blend of one of those vets with McLendon is plenty satisfactory to buy time for a youngster to come in.
    -We still haven't had the draft, or free agency for that matter. Give them a chance to fill it in!
     
  9. gpguy

    gpguy Well-Known Member

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    Tibet...i mean Snack...I have to disagree with you on one thing...you saying Worilds cannot play DE in a 4-3 in the NFL. Saying he's too small or whatever...here's some stats I found on some solid 4-3 DEs (random ones that popped into my head):

    Worilds - 6-2 / 262lbs

    Umenyiora - 6-3 / 255lbs
    Strahan - 6-5 / 255lbs
    Freeney - 6-1 / 268
    Mathis - 6-2 / 245
    Babin - 6-3 / 267
    Brandon Graham - 6-2 / 268
    Geathers - 6-3 / 280

    Yes there are obviously bigger 4-3 DEs out there...some are like 6-7 / 290lbs or whatever...but the same could be said for 3-4 DEs...you have taller ones like Keisel and shorter/heavier ones like Hood. Worilds would fit in just fine as a 4-3 DE and might be even better at it than a 3-4 OLB as it was his original position. Not that any of this matters or that I'm calling for the 4-3 switch...I'm just sharing a point about this.
     
  10. HugeSnack

    HugeSnack Well-Known Member

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    Most of those guys are freaks of athleticism though, and can do things Worilds can't. It's not his numbers that don't think he could do it, it's just him. I think he's a linebacker all the way. I don't think he'd hold up in the running game at DE. And I'm not complaining, because I like him the way he is.

    But you're right, I shouldn't say he could never do it. And I didn't really mean it. Just that he is completely tailored to be a 3-4 OLB. That's what he was built for at the time of the draft, that's what we drafted him to do, that's what he's been doing since. If any kind of plan even resembling a switch to the 4-3 was in place, why on earth would we draft this guy? There were, like always, plenty of 4-3 personnel available who you wouldn't have to completely break down and build up. It's like drafting a kicker to punt. And the repeated drafting of guys just like him (Gibson, Carter) is more of the same. Sure, with time they could probably find a position somewhere in a 4-3. But why take them? Why go through all that just to maybe have a guy that's as good as the guys who are already good at it? It makes no sense.
     
  11. gpguy

    gpguy Well-Known Member

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    Now you change your tune about his size, haha! Anyways...I'm not trying to start crap or whatever...and in reality I was going to post a big long more detailed reply...but in the end it really doesnt matter...neither of us is going to "win" or anything. And its not like they are switching to a 4-3/etc anyways, so its moot point really. I just hate it when someone says oh this player cant play this position in the NFL even though he played it in college/etc. Sometimes that can be the case (mainly based on size), but not all the time. I do think with Worilds size (he's put on some weight/bulk since college) and him being a pass rush specialist (using his speed) in college...that he could play DE just fine in the NFL. Would he be a superstar...probably not...but he would be a solid player and have a good career.
     
  12. HugeSnack

    HugeSnack Well-Known Member

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    I should have said "strength." I was lazy and used the terms interchangeably when I shouldn't have. His size isn't so different from Woodley's, but Woodley is way stronger. Harrison is smaller than both of them, and stronger than both.

    I agree with what you're saying, my point is that if you're switching to a 4-3 (which we aren't), then you don't draft a bunch of 3-4 guys and try to convert them. Yeah they might get it eventually, but why do that? There's a ton of guys out there already built for the NFL 4-3. Might as well draft a bunch of speedy QBs to play WR. It could work out, but... there are receivers out there.
     

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