Positions vs. Roles

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by Metaphors, Feb 9, 2011.

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  1. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

    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:

    4-3 DT
    3-4 DE
    4-3 DE
    3-4 OLB
    3-4 ILB
    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.
  2. MaineMan

    MaineMan 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    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. ;)
  3. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    We just call it Mainiac analysis with the emphasis on "anal." :cool:
  4. MaineMan

    MaineMan 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

  5. sg14

    sg14 On the Game Day Roster

    That's a good one, better than the standard "paralysis by analysis".

    I like the thread, what else are we going to do??
    (Maybe in month venture outside?)

  6. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson In the Starting Line-Up

    #37 Jersey

    Nice post. The Patriots have few glaring needs, and plenty of draft picks to work with. If ever there was a draft to "reach" for a role player (cough.. outside pass rushing specialist..cough) this would be it.
  7. jeffbiologist

    jeffbiologist Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    While I think we still try and put square pegs in square holes our extra picks and youth gives us lots of flexibility. First is to be able to snag a high $$FA to fill a major "hole", and second to take a "smaller" chance on a player in round 2-3 that may not fit our system but whos athletic ability and upside as a pass rusher make the decision for us. I think of a guy like B.Carter OLB NC as such a guy. A smaller OLB than we usually grab, but a specialist with a unique skill set that can add value to ST as well. When you think about it a guy like Bruschi didnt fit well in our system when first arriving. Rush DE/ST his first year, OLB and finally ILB as his body filled out. We have to give some of these guys a chance to grow into their roles as much as we like to jam em in there....
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