02-09-2011, 05:02 PM
2nd Team Getting Their First Start
Join Date: Jan 2010
Re: Positions vs. Roles
Originally Posted by Metaphors
I'm not one to start many threads, but this subject could be discussed in several existing threads on this board. We tend to get hung up on positions when looking for future Pats players, but I suggest what we really need to analyze is the role(s) the player could fill.
For example, the Pats front 7 on defense is pretty rigid when it comes to positional "specs" but there are roles for just about any type of player you can think of (notice the "just about" in the last sentence). If you just look at base and nickel, which probably make up 80-90% of snaps, you will find the following roles:
MLB (in certain formations)
All of them conform to the same 2-gap principles, but there is a lot of wiggle-room in the physical makeup of those roles. The Pats don't need to throw away players because they don't fit the classic Belichick 3-4 prototype. There are already several of these "misfits" on the team now...Wright, Moore, Pryor, even Spikes and Cunningham.
So the question isn't if Quinn or Miller or Kerrigan or Heyward is a positional fit for the Pats. The real question is how many roles can they fill effectively. Normally you want multiple roles in a 1st round pick (on the nose and outside...DE that can slide inside on passing downs...OLB that can play on his feet and with his hand on the ground...ILB that can chase sideline to sideline and play half the field in zone coverage.
This year may be different though. Given the youth and depth of the defense and the supply of unique defensive talents in this draft, filling one role exceptionally well (particularly in the passing game) could be enough to justify an early pick. I have some players that I can easily project to the Pats after pick #33, but I really have no feel for their first 3 picks. Too much top-notch talent and any number of ways for the Pats to use them.
Nice approach and definitely worth thinking about. Or, in my case, over-analyzing. Meaning that I'll have to get back to you on that.