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Linebackers and the Draft


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Good post, All I can say though is we better not use a top 4 player pick on a LB or I'll be VERY upset.  (As in the earliest I would consider picking a LB would be our 2nd 3rd rounder, even then I would not be too happy about it.)

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4 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

Good post, All I can say though is we better not use a top 4 player pick on a LB or I'll be VERY upset.  (As in the earliest I would consider picking a LB would be our 2nd 3rd rounder, even then I would not be too happy about it.)

This times a thousand. 

I don’t want any defensive players before round 4 but if we’re going to pick one before then, it damn well better not be a LB. 

 

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Jesus. Just sat down for a scotch and a soliloquy, hey? 

for what it’s worth I think this is strongest or deepest anyway draft at LB in years. Maybe even a decade. The position doesn’t care the same weight lately but this as good a class as any. 

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Great post, very informative. I've been waiting for years to change to a 4-3, we have the DT's, we have one edge and even if we don't draft one high I think Robert is capable of developing the players we have to hold down a position opposite Lawson.

Linebackers are going to take two years to sort out between development of players and finding out what we have on the current roster but I have full faith in Salah in this department, Its his specialty and I know he is now a head coach but I presume he will still take special interest in making it our strongest area of the field.

There is almost a feeling in the NFL at the moment that linebackers are not as important as they once were, perhaps that's true with the passing numbers that are been achieve every season but I'd ask anyone to go back and look at the superbowl and tell me the true MVP of that game was not Devin White. 

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13 minutes ago, Paradis said:

Jesus. Just sat down for a scotch and a soliloquy, hey? 

for what it’s worth I think this is strongest or deepest anyway draft at LB in years. Maybe even a decade. The position doesn’t care the same weight lately but this as good a class as any. 

RB's and LB's don't matter anymore in the NFL. :rolleyes:

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15 minutes ago, pdxgreen said:

Would love to see Bryce Huff to emerge with even more playing time next year.  Love his play.

Me too, but where?

I love to quote Bill Parcells:

"You cannot compromise your prototypes."

Bryce Huff does not run well enough to play the strong side in a 4-3.  It is why we signed Davis.  Huff DOES have enough size/strength and rush ability to stand up an offensive lineman and drive the play back inside.  Hence he is a fit for the 3-4 on the strong side.  He is so young and full of promise that I too hope he can find a role on the team.  But I have to be honest.  He is not a fit.

 

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The 49ers starting linebackers on their depth chart are all listed as weighing 228-230 with the SAM the one at 228. I think it’s a little bit of a different 4-3 and all going to be speed.

Really question of Mosley’s got the ability to get out in space, particularly after sitting out a year. I think he’s in play for the mid-season cut treatment much like two other big ticket Maccagnan signings the last two years.

Huff is almost definitely an end in the scheme.

I think they’re drafting at least one, maybe two, and those guys are going to compete to get on the field.

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16 minutes ago, clayton163v said:

Me too, but where?

I love to quote Bill Parcells:

"You cannot compromise your prototypes."

Bryce Huff does not run well enough to play the strong side in a 4-3.  It is why we signed Davis.  Huff DOES have enough size/strength and rush ability to stand up an offensive lineman and drive the play back inside.  Hence he is a fit for the 3-4 on the strong side.  He is so young and full of promise that I too hope he can find a role on the team.  But I have to be honest.  He is not a fit.

 

Very similar size to Lawson. He’s going to get an opportunity to put his hand in the dirt.

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8 minutes ago, derp said:

Very similar size to Lawson. He’s going to get an opportunity to put his hand in the dirt.

    Agreed--as a pass rush specialist or whatever we're going to give him a chance to make the squad. He's a football player

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1 hour ago, clayton163v said:

Me too, but where?

I love to quote Bill Parcells:

"You cannot compromise your prototypes."

Bryce Huff does not run well enough to play the strong side in a 4-3.  It is why we signed Davis.  Huff DOES have enough size/strength and rush ability to stand up an offensive lineman and drive the play back inside.  Hence he is a fit for the 3-4 on the strong side.  He is so young and full of promise that I too hope he can find a role on the team.  But I have to be honest.  He is not a fit.

 

Yeah.  I knew that when we switched systems he wouldn't have a place.  But I love UDFA making it... because we have so few player success stories around here now.  Six first rounders getting traded IN A ROW.  (mimes putting gun in mouth and pulling trigger.)

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I went a bit out on a limb and said don't be surprised if the Jets take a LB much earlier than people expect.  I wouldn't be shocked at all at #66.  Saleh wants his version of Fred Warner here.

 

 

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17 hours ago, jetstream23 said:

I went a bit out on a limb and said don't be surprised if the Jets take a LB much earlier than people expect.  I wouldn't be shocked at all at #66.  Saleh wants his version of Fred Warner here.

 

 

I think that is a distinct possibility if there is a good fit for the strong side linebacker.  After all, Jarred Davis is on a one-year "prove it" deal.  Unlike the Will and Mike, those guys cost draft capitol to get a good one.  You need size, strength and speed to succeed.  At present, we do not have a back up to Davis.  We need to add one or the scheme falls apart.

Parcells: "you cannot compromise your prototypes". 

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18 hours ago, jetstream23 said:

I went a bit out on a limb and said don't be surprised if the Jets take a LB much earlier than people expect.  I wouldn't be shocked at all at #66.  Saleh wants his version of Fred Warner here.

 

 

That’s a very good point. Question is whether he has a guy he loves in the third? Seems too early for me as I’d still like to see more OL help at #66  Hoping for Center Humphrey or Dickinson @34  

Maybe pick #88 might line up value wise. 5th rd TE/WR please

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8 minutes ago, peebag said:

If you haven't seen any highlights of Zaven Collins, you need to educate yourself.

Collins projects as a Rush outside linebacker for a 3-4.  Playing stand up on the weak side ala Lawrence Taylor.  In the Saleh defense, he would have to play defensive end.  A position for which his skill set is not a good fit.  While he runs well, he is too big for a 4-3 linebacker.  Even on the strong side.

Do not get me wrong.  I like the player a lot.  But we no longer play that defense.

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3 hours ago, peebag said:

If you haven't seen any highlights of Zaven Collins, you need to educate yourself.

I want O first 3 picks so I won't be happy with it, but I won't be stunned if he is the pick at 34.  The guys a freak at 6'4"  260 

 

 

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20 hours ago, jetstream23 said:

I went a bit out on a limb and said don't be surprised if the Jets take a LB much earlier than people expect.  I wouldn't be shocked at all at #66.  Saleh wants his version of Fred Warner here.

 

 

I'll be totally enraged and it will be a good sign that the GM is just another lap dog for a D coach 'who wants his kinda guys'

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2 hours ago, Beerfish said:

I'll be totally enraged and it will be a good sign that the GM is just another lap dog for a D coach 'who wants his kinda guys'

You've got a pretty low bar for being enraged if a LB on the 4th pick will do it. C'mon pick 66 is not a sign JD is a lapdog for Saleh or even that Saleh is pounding the table for D. 3 high picks on O is a good start. Would I like to see more? Sure. But not every pick in this draft is going to be O. There just aren't enough roster spots to allocate for that. QB, OL, playmaker/OL will be a good foundation. I'd prefer we go O until the 5th, but I wont lose sleep on a 3rd rounder.

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5 hours ago, Philc1 said:

Hoping Parsons falls to 23. He bombed his interviews supposedly and LB is not considered “high value”

That would be cause to dance the Watusi.  While I want offense, he is a top 10 pick. 

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With most base offenses running three WRs, most base defenses run the nickel the majority of the time. So while we're calling our defense a 4-3, the reality is that it will probably be a 4-2-5 a lot (if not most) of the time. The problem is our own division, with NE signing the top two TEs to reprise the heady days of Aaron Hernandez, and Miami looking poised to add Pitts to Gesicki. 

I think that's where a guy like Bryce Huff might make the team -and make himself useful- as someone who can line up at DE and then drop back into a zone. 

Has Mosley found his fire yet? Heard it might've gone out. 

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9 hours ago, slats said:

With most base offenses running three WRs, most base defenses run the nickel the majority of the time. So while we're calling our defense a 4-3, the reality is that it will probably be a 4-2-5 a lot (if not most) of the time. The problem is our own division, with NE signing the top two TEs to reprise the heady days of Aaron Hernandez, and Miami looking poised to add Pitts to Gesicki. 

I think that's where a guy like Bryce Huff might make the team -and make himself useful- as someone who can line up at DE and then drop back into a zone. 

Has Mosley found his fire yet? Heard it might've gone out. 

I hope Huff can earn a spot as you suggest.  I would be appalled if he ended up on New England.  I think his future will be told in the upcoming draft.  If we bring in a host of Mikes and Wills - which I think likely - he will have to make it as a defensive end.  If we draft one of the pass rushers at 23 - Paye or Phillips would be excellent value - then he will be caught in a numbers game. 

As to your point of running a lot of 4-2-5, there is no doubt.  It means we could use a linebacker/safety hybrid.  There is a real good one in Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah from Notre Dame.  He would start - and excel - at the Will and play "Rover" safety in the 4-2-5.  I fear the Jets may target him.  If so we might grab him at 23 - which is just too early.  If we grab him at 34 it will still be too soon imo, but there is little chance he would still be around in the 3d.  I cannot deny he is an excellent fit for the new defense for the reason you describe and we do not have a starting Will.

Personally, I want offense at 23 & 34 but the board will have to break our way for it to happen. 

 

 

 

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On 4/11/2021 at 4:01 PM, peebag said:

If you haven't seen any highlights of Zaven Collins, you need to educate yourself.

The Freak. Dynamic. Game changer. Instantly improves the defense. He’s just one of those guys whose play is so intense, it raises everybody else’s passion. He is just too good to pass up if he’s there at 23. 

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On 4/11/2021 at 4:14 PM, clayton163v said:

Collins projects as a Rush outside linebacker for a 3-4.  Playing stand up on the weak side ala Lawrence Taylor.  In the Saleh defense, he would have to play defensive end.  A position for which his skill set is not a good fit.  While he runs well, he is too big for a 4-3 linebacker.  Even on the strong side.

Do not get me wrong.  I like the player a lot.  But we no longer play that defense.

Hmmm. Can you please throw out some LB’s in the draft that Saleh will have JD looking at. And where in the draft would you think it’s appropriate to utilize the pick. Since we have Mosley, Do you think they’ll use a high pick on a LB?  Thx

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Guys like Huff and Zuniga will be DE's in this system as they were both out of place in a 3-4. The best thing they both do is rush the QB with their hand in the dirt. I think they'll both be depth rush ends and I actually think Zuniga is going to surprise and have a really nice season. I'm not sure the Jets are going to draft a DE unless one is staring them in the face in the mid rounds.

The 49ers kept 9 defensive lineman on the 53 last year, 5 DE's and 4 DT's. That doesn't mean that's what they do here but it's a good indication of how Saleh wants this positional group to look. At DE the Jets have (5) Lawson, Curry, Zuniga, Huff and Lynch at DE. At DT they have (6) Quinnen, Rankins, Fatukasi, Kyle Phillips, Shepherd and JFM.

I think we can see 1 DT traded during the draft and 1 DE drafted.

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On 4/11/2021 at 4:15 PM, kdels62 said:

The Sam is the big deal linebacker in a 4-3? Are we sure about that? 

Sorry for the delay, I had intended to respond to this post. 

The Will is by far the most visible player.  They are the player that makes a name for themselves.  He will be expected to lead the team in tackles.  But he does not need size, he needs speed and tackling skills.  225 is big enough.  The player does need wheels and must be a wrap up tackler.  The lineman and the Mike have the dirty job of keeping his jersey clean.  The 4-3 Will does not need to take on the guard.  That is the responsibility of the lineman and the Mike.

The Mike does not need to worry about plays that go wide.  He must have gap discipline within the scheme that the defensive line is running in a particular formation.  He HAS to take on the guard on a regular basis.  But he does not have to chase like the Will.  So range is less important.  Further, the Mike comes off the field on passing downs and is replaced by a defensive back or safety.  So versatility is not as big an issue.

The strong side linebacker does need speed since they have to turn the play inside to the Mike.  They also have to take on the guard AND the tight end.  They have to shut down their side of the field and have enough cover skills to watch the tight end.  So unlike the Will and Mike, the strong side linebacker must be able to shed blocks AND turn plays inside AND tackle AND cover.  Unlike the Mike, they are also a three down player.  This requires a harder to find set of NFL traits.  And that requires a higher draft pick.  

The NFL is all about finding players who have right combination of traits to fit the prototype of a given scheme.  Yes, great players are great players.  But when a more limited player fits a scheme designed for that skill set, they can do just fine.  We only have so many early picks. 

Swift experienced Wills and rugged smart Mikes are not hard to find in later rounds.  Linebackers with the size of a Mike and the speed of a Will are hard to find.  You have to have one to run the 4-3 scheme effectively.  Such players come out every year but are gone by the second round. 

I would alter your statement to say that the Sam is the expensive linebacker so far as draft capitol is concerned.

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49 minutes ago, choon328 said:

Guys like Huff and Zuniga will be DE's in this system as they were both out of place in a 3-4. The best thing they both do is rush the QB with their hand in the dirt. I think they'll both be depth rush ends and I actually think Zuniga is going to surprise and have a really nice season. I'm not sure the Jets are going to draft a DE unless one is staring them in the face in the mid rounds.

The 49ers kept 9 defensive lineman on the 53 last year, 5 DE's and 4 DT's. That doesn't mean that's what they do here but it's a good indication of how Saleh wants this positional group to look. At DE the Jets have (5) Lawson, Curry, Zuniga, Huff and Lynch at DE. At DT they have (6) Quinnen, Rankins, Fatukasi, Kyle Phillips, Shepherd and JFM.

I think we can see 1 DT traded during the draft and 1 DE drafted.

I hope you are right about Huff.  I am not certain he has what it takes to hold up at the point of attack at defensive end.  I completely agree about Zuniga.  He is a classic 4-3 inside out pass rushing lineman.  Many here are down on him but his high ankle sprain robbed him of his explosiveness.  He did not get healthy until late in the year.   He may just explode.  In college he was frequently banged up but when he was healthy, he showed quality penetrating skills in a one gap scheme both inside and out.

I also think many have forgotten about Kyle Phillips.  His rookie year was astonishing to me since he was asked to play 3-4 five technique and two gap is just not his skill set.  He is a perfect fit as a one gap penetrating inside out lineman just like Zuniga.   

The only reason I think that the Jets might take a defensive lineman early is the more I look at the draft, the more it appears that one of the fine edge prospects will be the BAP when the #23 pick comes up on the board.   

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On 4/11/2021 at 2:56 AM, pdxgreen said:

Yeah.  I knew that when we switched systems he wouldn't have a place.  But I love UDFA making it... because we have so few player success stories around here now.  Six first rounders getting traded IN A ROW.  (mimes putting gun in mouth and pulling trigger.)

Hey, at least we've drafted guys that were worth trading recently ... prior to that they were just getting released and then disappeared!

Small steps ... ;-) 

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On 4/10/2021 at 9:03 PM, derp said:

The 49ers starting linebackers on their depth chart are all listed as weighing 228-230 with the SAM the one at 228. I think it’s a little bit of a different 4-3 and all going to be speed.

Really question of Mosley’s got the ability to get out in space, particularly after sitting out a year. I think he’s in play for the mid-season cut treatment much like two other big ticket Maccagnan signings the last two years.

Huff is almost definitely an end in the scheme.

I think they’re drafting at least one, maybe two, and those guys are going to compete to get on the field.

I don’t think Mosley can be cut until March of 2023 (not to recover anything more than a roster spot, anyway). Unless he retires, it looks like he’s got another guaranteed season after this year; only appears that like it’s only half-guaranteed on cap sites like overthecap and spotrac, but that’s because everything got pushed forward a year with him sitting out.

Initially it was $8MM fully guaranteed for 2021, with another $8MM becoming fully guaranteed (i.e. all $16MM) if he’s on the roster on day 5 of the 2020 season (making it an effective 3-year $51MM guarantee the day it was signed, since the alternative was 1-year $43MM if he was cut by day 5 of 2020). With him opting out of 2020, I think that might get pushed ahead one year. 2020-2021 becomes a combo-2020; 2022 becomes his 2021 contract year; etc.

So what looks like just a half guarantee is just not updated yet, and has become fully guaranteed with him being on the roster on day 5 of [what was supposed to be the 2020 season, but is now the 2021 season with the team getting a do-over on that clause] this year.  

Maybe not; I don’t know the details / the full “deal” with players being allowed to opt out of 2020 because of covid - if other future guarantees like this got altered as part of the compromise - but without knowing anything further this is how I’d read it.

https://overthecap.com/player/cj-mosley/2956/

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4 hours ago, clayton163v said:

Sorry for the delay, I had intended to respond to this post. 

The Will is by far the most visible player.  They are the player that makes a name for themselves.  He will be expected to lead the team in tackles.  But he does not need size, he needs speed and tackling skills.  225 is big enough.  The player does need wheels and must be a wrap up tackler.  The lineman and the Mike have the dirty job of keeping his jersey clean.  The 4-3 Will does not need to take on the guard.  That is the responsibility of the lineman and the Mike.

The Mike does not need to worry about plays that go wide.  He must have gap discipline within the scheme that the defensive line is running in a particular formation.  He HAS to take on the guard on a regular basis.  But he does not have to chase like the Will.  So range is less important.  Further, the Mike comes off the field on passing downs and is replaced by a defensive back or safety.  So versatility is not as big an issue.

The strong side linebacker does need speed since they have to turn the play inside to the Mike.  They also have to take on the guard AND the tight end.  They have to shut down their side of the field and have enough cover skills to watch the tight end.  So unlike the Will and Mike, the strong side linebacker must be able to shed blocks AND turn plays inside AND tackle AND cover.  Unlike the Mike, they are also a three down player.  This requires a harder to find set of NFL traits.  And that requires a higher draft pick.  

The NFL is all about finding players who have right combination of traits to fit the prototype of a given scheme.  Yes, great players are great players.  But when a more limited player fits a scheme designed for that skill set, they can do just fine.  We only have so many early picks. 

Swift experienced Wills and rugged smart Mikes are not hard to find in later rounds.  Linebackers with the size of a Mike and the speed of a Will are hard to find.  You have to have one to run the 4-3 scheme effectively.  Such players come out every year but are gone by the second round. 

I would alter your statement to say that the Sam is the expensive linebacker so far as draft capitol is concerned.

What SAM has been drafted early? Also MIKEs never come off the field sine they are the defensive play callers. 

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