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  • A Couple of Thoughts/Questions...

    This draft has really got me thinking re - positional value, especially for safeties but also for a few other positions, or more importantly types of players at positions.

    Safeties

    Has the league "missed the boat" on the true vale of safeties? The league has changed from run heavy to pass heavy and oriented, in particular over the last 5 years as teams such as New Orleans, New England, Minnesota, Indianapolis and San Francisco add elements of the spread. This trend is growing as well with Minny and San Fran only really doing it last year and there are other teams also that do it.

    Now the spread as it has entered the NFL is the pass based version and has been used in particular to create matchup problems with safeties and linebackers. Now we have seen an influx of many smaller and quicker linebackers, will touch on this later, but the safety position remains mostly unchanged, it's value seems the same as 5 years ago and I just don't agree with this.

    Look at this draft, you have Berry as the best example, by all accounts a top 5 player and elite talent but he most likely doesn't go top 5 and the main reason is because he is a safety. It seems that MLB has been "devalued" as a position somewhat appropriately given the stylistic changes to the game but the safeties that are picking up the slack have not been appreciatively valued.

    Looking at the top defenses in the league for the last few years and some of the notable defensive turnarounds...

    Tennessee - Last year with Griffen leading the safeties they were elite, this year with him playing relatively poorly they were not elite. There were many other changes, but is just one example.

    Pittsburgh - The "best" test case. With Polamalu, an elite game changing safety, they were an elite and aggressive defense. Without him they were very vanilla and beatable.

    Baltimore - Have been elite defensively for a decade. The constants in that period are Reed and Lewis. How much credit should Reed get?

    New Orleans - Darren Sharper was the difference in that defense from very ordinary to I guess game changing at least, if not actually good.

    Cardinals - Defense has sort of ebbed and flowed with Wilson's performance.

    Giants - Looked pretty solid and then Phillips went down and fell to pieces.

    Colts - Sanders coming back helped them win a Superbowl. Improvements from their safeties this year helped get them back there.

    Denver and Philly - See the improvement/decline with the Dawkins switch.

    There are probably other examples but all those teams had elite or damn near it safety play combined with great defensive play overall. Sure there are still teams that get by without(Minny spring to mind first and foremost) but there seems to be a pretty strong trend that game changing or at least altering safeties and good defenses are linked.

    Given this, does anyone else feel that the safety position has become undervalued and that teams should place more emphasis? Especially on guys like Berry and Thomas who offer elite coverage skills, I don't see any move away from the passing game, the main rule change this year seems to be yet more emphasis from the league on reducing physicality and increasing passing. The league seems set in this way, teams are going to embrace it and as the league outlaws contact in the middle of the field putting explosive slots in only makes more sense. Safeties that can play the ball become more vital to defend this.

    Any thoughts? Does anyone see an inherent error in my thoughts on this? I actually think that within 5 years safeties will be every bit as valuable as CBs and pass rushers, probably just one notch below truly elite pass rushers, OTs and QBs because the game is changing. The next couple of points relate back to this in many ways...

    Linebackers

    Have already touched on the big MLB being worth less now. See last years draft, the apparent slide of McClain at the moment and the value put on Spikes. As a MLB if you don't run 4.5 you basically can't be a top 15 pick right now, fair enough, this relates largely to my next point, but the backs are changing, the MLB has to as well.

    As for OLBs, this point is two fold. Firstly they need to be faster than ever now, covering slots is going to increase, big thumpers at OLB are going to go the way of the dinosaur, imo.

    On the flipside, big pass rushers will also decline. Check the sack leaders over the last 3 years, trending smaller, shorter, lighter and faster. As OTs have got bigger and taller to try and stop future Peppers and Allens they have perhaps got a little too large. Guys like Doom and Harrison who start under the pad level of the huge OTs have a natural leverage advantage. Stocky, strong and fast rushers can get under and bull rush or go around. Mathis, Freeney and Cole are further examples in a 4-3 no less to show it is not just standup outsides doing it. You will still have the Ware's out there who are prototypes, but I expect guys like Graham to join a growing number of undersized(traditionally) OLBs who will shift the trend as well. This links back to the speed needed for coverage also and also the next point.

    Any thoughts on this? Again, point out the flaws you see.

    Running Backs

    This is perhaps the driving point behind the whole movement. Guys like Chris Johnson, Reggie Bush, Felix Jones and Leon Washington are driving a change at RB. Speed is more important than size, ability to catch or better yet, shift out to WR. Versatility at RB is just huge and has become a game changer. Check the top 2 backs this year, Best and Spiller, both this type of player and for the first time this year they aren't being knocked for not being traditional but more lauded for being versatile. Where as Johnson and Bush's inside running was questioned and outside play and receiving was diminished it seems the opposite with Spiller and Best, it is mentioned still but not harped upon. These are the types of backs that open up the spread offense because they can easily motion out of the backfield and be far more than just a decoy. Alternatively guys like Harvin can motion in. The backs getting smaller and faster will drive the MLB, defensive changes are reactive to offensive changes, always have and will be. The spread is changing things rapidly though, it truly is only a matter of time until a team just institutes a full spread offense and calls it as such and it will open the floodgates.

    Thoughts on this as well?

    Obviously with all this, you still have the Petersons and Willis types at RB and MLB who fit both the traditional mold and also what I see as the future mold and these guys are worth their weight in gold, but I expect the safety position to become far more important and other positions to diminish slightly and I'm just wondering if attentive fans like we have here have picked up the same trends or see something different.

    I have put this in the draft thread as the basis is the undervaluing of the safety position and changes in what we will be looking for at LB and RB but if a mod feels it would be more appropriate in the NFL thread feel free to move it.


    Props to BK on the sig!

  • #2
    I've been saying that about safety's for a while, especially with coverage rules now. The best almost any cb can do (not named Revis/Aso) is cover his receiver into position for the safety to be there to make a play, a good safety can make up for alot of deficiencies with your corners, not to mention they can be huge players in run support.

    I've also felt like in the era of the 3-4, that the franchise LT importance has been overrated. Teams can bring pressure from so many different spots, that it has become similar in value to every position on the line. The Center has become underrated, as blocking assignments are more crucial than ever.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by BuddyCHRIST View Post
      I've been saying that about safety's for a while, especially with coverage rules now. The best almost any cb can do (not named Revis/Aso) is cover his receiver into position for the safety to be there to make a play, a good safety can make up for alot of deficiencies with your corners, not to mention they can be huge players in run support.

      I've also felt like in the era of the 3-4, that the franchise LT importance has been overrated. Teams can bring pressure from so many different spots, that it has become similar in value to every position on the line. The Center has become underrated, as blocking assignments are more crucial than ever.
      The center has become super underrated because he now has the job of blocking massive nose tackles more then in the past


      "O-H-I-O...its a four letter word."
      Mike Tirico

      Magilla Gorilla ain'ta killa, ...

      Roger Goodell's Beautify the NFL Campaign-No Violence-No Criminals-No Fun


      "(Ole Miss QB) Bo Wallace is one of those types of quarterbacks who is always trying to save the city but he's actually burning it down." -- NFC director of scouting

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      • #4
        I don't ever think safeties will be valued as highly as other positions. Ideally now safeties should be able to cover like corners and hit like linebackers. Most safeties don't have the body type to do this consistently for 10-12 years. Bob Sanders is always hurt, Polamalu is getting hurt more often, Ed Reed is playing hurt so often he is contemplating retirement, Brian Dawkins has an injury history, Adrian Wilson etc etc. Teams will be unwilling to take even an impact safety that high because safeties have a life span almost as short as a runningback.

        QBs, LTs, DEs should all have long productive, hopefully relatively injury free careers and this is why they are valued so high IMO


        BoneKrusher killing it with the sig

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        • #5
          The giants won the superbowl against the most prolific spread team in the NFL with James Butler and Gibril Wilson in the starting lineup. I'm pretty sure that single handedly proves that safety's are not under-valued.

          BK

          Originally posted by AcheTen
          JPP is a better and more productive player than Brandon Graham
          Originally posted by abaddon41_80
          Is Shaun Hill a top 10 QB? Definitely not. Is he a top 20 one? Almost certainly.
          Originally posted by JBCX
          Most misleading 10+ sack season EVER.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Rosebud View Post
            The giants won the superbowl against the most prolific spread team in the NFL with James Butler and Gibril Wilson in the starting lineup. I'm pretty sure that single handedly proves that safety's are not under-valued.
            The same Giants that had Strahan, Osi Umenryah, Justin Tuck raising hell up front?

            A good pass rush always makes mediocre safties look good.


            Sick Sig by the BONEKRUSHER


            Originally posted by Raheem Morris
            Stats are for losers, so you keep looking at stats and we'll keep looking at wins.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bigfreak314 View Post
              The same Giants that had Strahan, Osi Umenryah, Justin Tuck raising hell up front?

              A good pass rush always makes mediocre safties look good.
              That's exactly my point, DL is a much more premium position than safety even with the prevalence of the spread.

              BK

              Originally posted by AcheTen
              JPP is a better and more productive player than Brandon Graham
              Originally posted by abaddon41_80
              Is Shaun Hill a top 10 QB? Definitely not. Is he a top 20 one? Almost certainly.
              Originally posted by JBCX
              Most misleading 10+ sack season EVER.

              Comment


              • #8
                Rosebud and bigfreak, you guys are right there. The one similarity between every team with good safety play is they are able to get to the QB. Whether it be from a specific dynamic pass rusher (Freeney) or a scheme that creates alot of pressure (Pittsburgh).

                Now this begins the Chicken and the Egg discussion. Does the pass rush make a good safety Elite? Or, does an Elite Saftey make a good pass rush even better?

                The more reads a QB has to make because of good coverage, the longer he holds onto the ball. The longer it takes to throw to receiver, a good pass rush will get to the QB.

                An Elite pass rush gets to the QB so fast he isn't able to make his proper reads and throws the ball up and makes for an easy INT by a good Safety.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I do believe that the Safety position is under valued in terms of draft stock. If Berry is the 3rd best prospect in this draft, then he should be able to be drafted in the top 5 without being disparaged.

                  (Now I get use my least favorite way to start a sentence. It negates everything previously said.) Having said that, I understand why a Safety is devalued in the draft. If Eric Berry is drafted in the top 5, the second he signs his deal, he will be the highest paid Safety in NFL history. All that money based on potential. His contract would effect how other deals use their Franchise Tags on Safeties die to the amount of money in his contract. Give the NFL rookies a salary cap and the "positional value" of the draft goes by the wayside. Teams would address issues with players when they were available. Not when they had good positional value.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wogitalia View Post
                    New Orleans - Darren Sharper was the difference in that defense from very ordinary to I guess game changing at least, if not actually good.
                    iyam the difference was way more the addition of greer and the developement of porter. those two made the cornerback group one of the better ones in the league coming from probably the worst group.
                    The qualitiy of play at the cornerback position allowed sharper to made the plays he did.


                    Saints 2014 draft wish list:
                    - No pass rusher till the fourth round (or preferably at all)
                    - Corner or Wideout in the first
                    - No reaching
                    - No Kelvin Benjamin

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      another note, I do agree that the league has started to trend towards the faster, smaller pass rushers including guys coming into this draft like Hughes and Woodley I believe the next trend is going to be the 6-4 to 6-5 athletic OT who can move with the better athletes at DE and negate pass rushers like that. Guys like Russell Okung and Bruce Cambell, although he hasnt put it all together yet, who can run and have good lateral agility.


                      Sick Sig by the BONEKRUSHER


                      Originally posted by Raheem Morris
                      Stats are for losers, so you keep looking at stats and we'll keep looking at wins.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I hate the phrase "what came first, the chicken or the egg". That's not a question, it was the egg and from it was hatched a mutant offspring that we know call chickens.

                        BK

                        Originally posted by AcheTen
                        JPP is a better and more productive player than Brandon Graham
                        Originally posted by abaddon41_80
                        Is Shaun Hill a top 10 QB? Definitely not. Is he a top 20 one? Almost certainly.
                        Originally posted by JBCX
                        Most misleading 10+ sack season EVER.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          who layed the egg?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Those positions will never be highly valued in the draft unless there is a rookie cap, simply because of the economic hamper drafting in the top 10 brings.

                            As this is a draft board, pretty much everybody on here knows of George Young/Bill Parcells' "planet theory" - that there is a very limited supply of athletic big men on the planet, and they should be coveted accordingly. It's simple supply and demand economics.

                            Look at the economic impact of taking a safety in the top five of the draft. By doing that, you're giving him a contract in the range of 6 years, $60 million, with roughly $28-30 million guaranteed. Compare that to Antrel Rolle - who the Giants just made the highest paid safety in the league. Rolle signed a 5 year, $37 million contract with $15 million guaranteed. Polamalu recently just signed a 4 year, $30 million contract. If you're already paying Berry twice as much as the highest paid safeties in the league, think of how much it's going to cost to resign him when his rookie deal is up - especially after other teams have to start paying safeties MORE than what Berry is being paid, completely throwing the market out of whack.

                            Conversely, with QBs, defensive linemen, and offensive tackles, you'd be spending right along the lines of what the highest paid guys are at their positions. It fits the market price. And that's why these positions will be valued the most at the top of the draft.

                            In professional sports, it's all about the money. When there's a rookie cap in place, you'll see the value of positions start to even out a little bit. But until then it's all about big men and quarterbacks at the top of the draft. It just doesn't make economic sense to do it any other way.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by King Carls 5 Year Plan View Post
                              who layed the egg?
                              A chicken like species that I'd guess is extinct.

                              BK

                              Originally posted by AcheTen
                              JPP is a better and more productive player than Brandon Graham
                              Originally posted by abaddon41_80
                              Is Shaun Hill a top 10 QB? Definitely not. Is he a top 20 one? Almost certainly.
                              Originally posted by JBCX
                              Most misleading 10+ sack season EVER.

                              Comment

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