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Linebackers and the Draft


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On 4/10/2021 at 8:48 PM, 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.

 

He played Defensive End in a 4-3 in college.  That is where he will play in a 4-3 in the NFL.  

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3 hours ago, Sperm Edwards said:

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/

Appreciate the input - that’s unfortunate. I knew there was an extra dead money loss in cap space for the future guarantees if they cut him this year but with Douglas having a little extra room I thought he might just pinch his nose and get it done to save him from hanging on the roster and causing dead money next year.

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5 hours 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 do think Phillips and JFM can play inside and outside in the 4-3 and that versatility will be valuable. Not exactly prototypical but Saleh had Armstead at end and he’s gigantic. Phillips especially at 6’4 277, he’s definitely an end, basically the same size as Curry. But the DL is pretty well stocked. I do wonder if someone gets traded - with the Rankins pickup I bet Fatukasi and Shepherd are more valuable to teams running other schemes.

4 hours ago, clayton163v said:

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.   

The other reason I think they might go DL is because a ton of guys hit FA after this year. Only Q, Rankins, Lawson, Zuniga, and Huff are signed next year. Bet they want a guy who can push to start at DE across from Lawson so that’s not a huge hole heading into next offseason and they can just build depth. Do hope Douglas extends a guy or two who shows to be a good scheme fit.

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On 4/10/2021 at 8:28 PM, 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. 

very good point... This draft is loaded with guys that can come in and compete and best of all the bidding (outside of parsons and probably collins and bolton) will most likely start in the 3rd or 4th round.  

Guys I like so far have been Cox, Moses, Surratt,  Browning (who the jets like) and Wallow from TCU. But theres a lot more.  Its a deep group and you can easily get a starter in this draft in the third or fourth round which is where I think the jets will look to take one of those guys.  All 4-3 scheme fits. 

Parsons is an absolute stud and maybe the best defensive player in the draft, I havent looked much at bolton or collins because I think they're out of range for us.  But the others are all a fit. 

Moses projects as a really good Will for the team.  really good in coverage, but injuries are a concern

Surratt is a little raw since he's only been playing the position for like 2 years, but as a former college QB he understands offenses well and he's super athletic.. I think his upside is huge

Cox is another erally rangy coverage backer that projects well.. Just needs to be better against the run and in the box.  But I like his potential. 

Browning was a do it all LB at ohio state and I know the jets like him.. I believe they even met with him a few times at the SB (if i remember correctly.)

Wallow I havent watched a ton of tape on but a contact of mine has been training him and he's saying he may end up the best coverage lb in the group (very big claim) also thinks he reads and reacts at very high level.  Id have to watch more but the guy is usually not just blowing smoke for no reason so we'll see. 

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58 minutes ago, derp said:

Appreciate the input - that’s unfortunate. I new there was an extra dead money loss in cap space for the future guarantees if they cut him this year but with Douglas having a little extra room I thought he might just pinch his nose and get it done to save him from hanging on the roster and causing dead money next year.

Yeah it could've been. He certainly did that with Leonard Williams, and predecessors did that with Revis, Faneca, etc. But in this case - and I could be wrong - it appears there is no cap savings & they'd just recoup the roster spot. Actually it'd cost more than keeping him, since there'd also be the additional cost of his replacement. 

Also the dead money thing isn't a concern if it's just moving it from one year to the next. It looks worse than it is in reality because as casual fans we tend to just look at the current year's cap like it's an isolated silo rather than the far more fungible year-to-year situation that exists. A team's cap number for the year can be over the league's cap limit for that year, and can even still be 8 figures under, if they've pushed forward enough unused space from the prior season.

Anyway, it matters a little, but mostly it doesn't (extreme situations like New Orleans this year notwithstanding) since space can always be created, via restructuring existing players, to sign & fit anyone else a team wants without gutting the roster somewhere else.

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1 hour ago, Sperm Edwards said:

Yeah it could've been. He certainly did that with Leonard Williams, and predecessors did that with Revis, Faneca, etc. But in this case - and I could be wrong - it appears there is no cap savings & they'd just recoup the roster spot. Actually it'd cost more than keeping him, since there'd also be the additional cost of his replacement. 

Also the dead money thing isn't a concern if it's just moving it from one year to the next. It looks worse than it is in reality because as casual fans we tend to just look at the current year's cap like it's an isolated silo rather than the far more fungible year-to-year situation that exists. A team's cap number for the year can be over the league's cap limit for that year, and can even still be 8 figures under, if they've pushed forward enough unused space from the prior season.

Anyway, it matters a little, but mostly it doesn't (extreme situations like New Orleans this year notwithstanding) since space can always be created, via restructuring existing players, to sign & fit anyone else a team wants without gutting the roster somewhere else.

Very true RE the cap being a year to year situation.

If it’s a square peg round hole situation I could still see them cutting him. It’s the roster spot but also him making a lot of money to not be productive in a scheme that doesn’t fit him or to sit on the bench doesn’t make a lot of sense for morale.

It’d be nice if they could trade him but man that contract is an albatross.

Would be even better if he reports in fantastic shape and crushes it in the new scheme and I look like an idiot for suggesting they might cut him.

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7 minutes ago, derp said:

Very true RE the cap being a year to year situation.

If it’s a square peg round hole situation I could still see them cutting him. It’s the roster spot but also him making a lot of money to not be productive in a scheme that doesn’t fit him or to sit on the bench doesn’t make a lot of sense for morale.

It’d be nice if they could trade him but man that contract is an albatross.

Would be even better if he reports in fantastic shape and crushes it in the new scheme and I look like an idiot for suggesting they might cut him.

Agree with everything here, but I think any cutting is a longshot just due to the $. If he's 75% of what he was, at this point I'd consider that a relative win, considering the guy's played less than 1 game in 2 seasons. 

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2 hours ago, Chrebetfan80 said:

very good point... This draft is loaded with guys that can come in and compete and best of all the bidding (outside of parsons and probably collins and bolton) will most likely start in the 3rd or 4th round.  

Guys I like so far have been Cox, Moses, Surratt,  Browning (who the jets like) and Wallow from TCU. But theres a lot more.  Its a deep group and you can easily get a starter in this draft in the third or fourth round which is where I think the jets will look to take one of those guys.  All 4-3 scheme fits. 

Parsons is an absolute stud and maybe the best defensive player in the draft, I havent looked much at bolton or collins because I think they're out of range for us.  But the others are all a fit. 

Moses projects as a really good Will for the team.  really good in coverage, but injuries are a concern

Surratt is a little raw since he's only been playing the position for like 2 years, but as a former college QB he understands offenses well and he's super athletic.. I think his upside is huge

Cox is another erally rangy coverage backer that projects well.. Just needs to be better against the run and in the box.  But I like his potential. 

Browning was a do it all LB at ohio state and I know the jets like him.. I believe they even met with him a few times at the SB (if i remember correctly.)

Wallow I havent watched a ton of tape on but a contact of mine has been training him and he's saying he may end up the best coverage lb in the group (very big claim) also thinks he reads and reacts at very high level.  Id have to watch more but the guy is usually not just blowing smoke for no reason so we'll see. 

It’s a good draft to add to the LB room. I really don’t love Micah Parsons. He’s a SAM linebacker who is gonna end up being miscast as a MIKE. I get that he’s big and fast but he hasn’t been asked to cover very often and he had a tendency to overplay gaps. He reminds me of Jarrad Davis who was miscast in a role and it cost him performance.

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44 minutes ago, kdels62 said:

It’s a good draft to add to the LB room. I really don’t love Micah Parsons. He’s a SAM linebacker who is gonna end up being miscast as a MIKE. I get that he’s big and fast but he hasn’t been asked to cover very often and he had a tendency to overplay gaps. He reminds me of Jarrad Davis who was miscast in a role and it cost him performance.

I would agree that the way that he gets to maximize his potential to me is at the SAM like you said.  like all players a lot is going to determine where these guys get drafted and how the team handles them.  But in terms of potential Parsons is a monster.

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On 4/10/2021 at 6:58 PM, clayton163v said:

The Jets new 4-3 scheme requires very different linebackers from a 3-4 scheme.  Instead of players who can run, play in space and put their hand in the dirt to challenge the tackle the 4-3 places its emphasis on guys who can run, tackle and cover.  The Jets never did find the outside rush linebacker that makes a 3-4 scheme work.  We did try - I will not soil this post with a reminder of failed attempts.  Remember your Parcells on 3-4 linebackers - "It's hard to find guys who are big enough." 

Instead, the 4-3 requires three very different  linebackers.  The most important and hardest to find is the strong side outside linebacker.  This player not only needs to be able to tackle and cover the tight end, they have to be able to shut down the edge and tackle.  Like with 3-4 linebackers, it is hard to find guys who are big enough.  The personnel we let go in Luvu, Bashum et al simply did not run well enough to play strong side in a 4-3.  This player has to be big enough to set the edge on running plays and cover the tight end/backs in space.  The strong side linebacker is the most expensive piece of the 4-3 linebackers because he is the hardest to find.  College does not turn out such players and they tend to be higher draft picks. 

The middle linebacker in the 4-3 scheme must read the play and hit the proper gap with authority.  Read and react middle linebackers are a staple of the college game.  Obviously the best ones are early draft picks but the difference between most of them is small and they can be found late in the draft or in free agency.  250 pounds and good read and react skills.  Speed is just not as important.  Especially if your defense runs the zone pass defense like Saleh is expected to for the Jets during his tenure.

The Will is the last of the 4-3 linebackers.  This player must be able to run and tackle.  Unlike 3-4 linebackers, size is far less important.  230lbs is large enough.  College cranks out these guys all the time.  Like with the Mike, the Will is not going to be too hard to find.   

Our starting Mike will be last year’s opt out player who happens to be the highest paid player on the team.  CJ Mosely will be an excellent 4-3 Mike.  Not only does he hit like a truck, he excels in his read and react skills.  He even has wheels and – while they are less important – he is decent in coverage which is also less important. 

Out strong side linebacker is Jarred Davis.  There is a reason he was the first player we signed.  4-3 strong side linebackers are hard to find.  Davis was a former 1st round pick and – while a bit overdrafted imo – carried a solid 2d round grade before the draft.  He is big, tough and can run.  He fits the bill.  No matter who we play out there, they will be costly to acquire. 

Our starting Will is the unheralded Delshawn Phillips.  Will he be the starter?  Believe it or not, it is possible.  Will he have competition?  You bet your ass.

The backups on the roster are Blake Cashman, Sharif Finch and Bryce Huff.  Blake Cashman might start at the Will if he survives training camp uninjured.  A big IF.  Sharif Finch and Bryce Huff are likely out of jobs.  I like what I saw from Bryce Huff and think he proved he has real value to a 3-4 team as the strong side linebacker.  If we cut him, he will be picked up instantly - probably by New England.  When I think of all the years we looked for 3-4 outside linebackers who were big enough, it is just SO JETS that we are about to throw one away when we switch to the 4-3.  Sigh.  Finch is an inside linebacker for the 3-4.  Perhaps he will back up at the Mike.  I doubt it.  Too much size and he will have robust competition.

The way I see it, the Jets have two starting 4-3 linebackers and two strong candidates for the Will.  Thus, are two roster spots open and an entire practice squad to fill up with hopefuls for the Strong side, Mithere ke and Will.  I expect to see the Jets draft a Will and a Mike and would not be in the least bit surprised to see them taken in the 5th and 6th round.  There simply is no justification to take these guys early.  College runs the 4-3 scheme and these guys are available late.  I expect no less than four free agents to go along with it.  We will be the most enticing destination for the undrafted Wills and Mikes since simple arithmetic shows we can offer the roster spots and possible NFL careers.  I would not be in the least bit surprised if the starting will and the backups at Will and Mike both undrafted free agents.   There are so many of them they are almost like kickers and punters.  Every college produces them almost every year.   The big programs are loaded with these guys.  Wills are small and can run and Mikes are big without wheels who can read and react inside.   It is just not rare stuff.  If we draft a linebacker early it will surprise me unless it is a candidate for the strong side.  Such players are costly but not rare.   You can get one every year in the second round and expect decent results.  It is one of the nice things about the 4-3.  The linebackers can be found. 

I expect an extraordinarily busy post draft free agent signing binge and a free for all in training camp.  It should be fun to watch.  I could easily see new players push Cashman and Finch off the team leading to four new rookie linebackers on the roster and three or four more on the practice squad.   

 

 

Good well thought post.

I know Saleh will probably be putting the D in a lot of 4-2-5 schemes to counteract the heavy passing attacks that many teams implement.  Pressuring with the front four and dropping back most of the back seven in coverage.

In mock simulations I've been drafting players in mid-late rounds like Tony Fields and Garret Waller, who can be effective in the 4-2-5 cover schemes.  Which may be nothing more then a patch job for a weak unit.

Besides LBer needs.  You have to focus on OL upgrade, offensive weapons, CB-Edge.  It's hard to figure out where JD-Saleh  will address LBer needs for the 4-3.  Saleh could prefer niche-hybrid type of players to balance out the roster for cover situations.  Would  they draft a Micah Parsons or a Zevin Collins, etc. in rounds 1-2?  Maybe using one these picks for a trade could be used...to get another veteran that Saleh likes.

I do feel that after this draft and FA period...the LB unit could end up being the weakest and most vulnerable when its all said and done...to open the season with.   

Reality is...all the needs for this team won't be remedied in one year.  And LB could end up a big priority for the following season's FA-Draft.

 

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7 hours ago, Butterfield said:

250 lb linebackers?  All of the linebackers that San Fran and Atlanta had were in the 230 lb range.  

You play what you have, but the prototype is a larger man.  A 230 lb Mike is too small, NFL guards will crunch him.  A strong side linebacker can get overwhelmed on the strong side if they are too light.

Parcells: "You cannot compromise your prototypes."

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3 minutes ago, clayton163v said:

You play what you have, but the prototype is a larger man.  A 230 lb Mike is too small, NFL guards will crunch him.  A strong side linebacker can get overwhelmed on the strong side if they are too light.

Parcells: "You cannot compromise your prototypes."

Maybe for some 4-3, but they aren’t all created equally. The jets hc and dc sought out and utilized linebackers all in the 220-235 range.  

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4 minutes ago, clayton163v said:

You play what you have, but the prototype is a larger man.  A 230 lb Mike is too small, NFL guards will crunch him.  A strong side linebacker can get overwhelmed on the strong side if they are too light.

Parcells: "You cannot compromise your prototypes."

Fred Warner is possibly the best MLB in the league and he's 6'3" 230. The 49ers went out of their way to acquire Kwon Alexander who is 6'1" 227. They drafted and started Dre Greenlaw in round 5 to play the SAM position and he's 6'0', 235 lbs. 

You'd be totally right in 2001 though. 

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On 4/13/2021 at 9:41 AM, Chrebetfan80 said:

very good point... This draft is loaded with guys that can come in and compete and best of all the bidding (outside of parsons and probably collins and bolton) will most likely start in the 3rd or 4th round.  

Guys I like so far have been Cox, Moses, Surratt,  Browning (who the jets like) and Wallow from TCU. But theres a lot more.  Its a deep group and you can easily get a starter in this draft in the third or fourth round which is where I think the jets will look to take one of those guys.  All 4-3 scheme fits. 

Parsons is an absolute stud and maybe the best defensive player in the draft, I havent looked much at bolton or collins because I think they're out of range for us.  But the others are all a fit. 

Moses projects as a really good Will for the team.  really good in coverage, but injuries are a concern

Surratt is a little raw since he's only been playing the position for like 2 years, but as a former college QB he understands offenses well and he's super athletic.. I think his upside is huge

Cox is another erally rangy coverage backer that projects well.. Just needs to be better against the run and in the box.  But I like his potential. 

Browning was a do it all LB at ohio state and I know the jets like him.. I believe they even met with him a few times at the SB (if i remember correctly.)

Wallow I havent watched a ton of tape on but a contact of mine has been training him and he's saying he may end up the best coverage lb in the group (very big claim) also thinks he reads and reacts at very high level.  Id have to watch more but the guy is usually not just blowing smoke for no reason so we'll see. 

Good post.  I will have more to say about the draft later.

I think the Jets should be opportunistic at linebacker.  If somebody falls that is a good fit, then take him.  Even if it is an early pick.  The word is Parsons is a bit of a loon.  If he fell to us at 23, I would hope our coach would use "extreme violence" on the way to the podium. 

But if a player does not fall to us early, then we should be bargain hunters.  It is my hope - as it is with "guard only" and "center only" players - that we have this draft class thoroughly scouted with an eye towards late-round draft picks and free agents.  They will make the team and practice squad.  They could even start and be long term answers.  Lots of starting linebackers are not early picks.

From my point of view - at guard, center, Mike and Will - there is simply no excuse for the use of higher picks unless the consensus BAP unexpectedly falls to the Jets.

 

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1 hour ago, clayton163v said:

Good post.  I will have more to say about the draft later.

I think the Jets should be opportunistic at linebacker.  If somebody falls that is a good fit, then take him.  Even if it is an early pick.  The word is Parsons is a bit of a loon.  If he fell to us at 23, I would hope our coach would use "extreme violence" on the way to the podium. 

But if a player does not fall to us early, then we should be bargain hunters.  It is my hope - as it is with "guard only" and "center only" players - that we have this draft class thoroughly scouted with an eye towards late-round draft picks and free agents.  They will make the team and practice squad.  They could even start and be long term answers.  Lots of starting linebackers are not early picks.

From my point of view - at guard, center, Mike and Will - there is simply no excuse for the use of higher picks unless the consensus BAP unexpectedly falls to the Jets.

 

The linebacking depth in the draft is pretty deep honestly, and there are a lot of 4-3 fits in the middle rounds.  All those guys i named have been mocked around in the 3rd and 4th rounds.  I fully believe the jets wont even look at LB until then, and thats if one of those guys they like is there.  

Guard/tackle will probably be addressed at 23 if I had my educated guess, then in an ideal world WR at 34 or in a trade down.  Then its all bets are off. 

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